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First and last and in between

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Luke 10:21
Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."

In this moment caught by Luke Jesus knows his work is going well. His disciples rejoice: "Even the demons submit to us in your name." And Jesus says, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." He is almost giddy with joy.

His joy comes as his disciples come back from their own mostly successful attempts at doing what Jesus himself was doing. He told them to go out two by two, offer peace and healing to whoever they encountered. He told them to say, "The kingdom of God is near you."

On Sunday Happy Leman said, "Jesus came for one thing, to defeat Satan." He is still sending out his followers, one by one, two by two, three by three. And like the people of Israel, I can reject the kingdom of God or rejoice in its "nearness."

Reasons to reject Jesus are falling on me like leaves in November. How easy is it to be bitter for what I never had or have lost? Reject. How much wiser am I than one who trusts an unknown god and acknowledges an unknown devil? Reject. How can I pay attention to Jesus when the world's colors, tastes and touches are so sensuous and inviting? Reject.

The kingdom of God is near. In English tenses: it is accomplished, being accomplished, and not yet accomplished. That's not easy for my mind to grasp, unless I become more like a little child and less like a college graduate. Can I accept what Jesus does now even when it's so incomplete? Open my arms to this little bit of heaven, or insist on seeing only the evil that still surrounds us?

Jesus' joy turns the key for me. He knows what he is doing. There is no one better to follow into the future. Follow and do what he tells me to do.

Jesus, you have been born, you will be born, and you are being born now in our lives. Thank you for transcending not just my understanding, but time and space.

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