Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rich Enough To Be Lifted Up

23Jesus said to his disciples, “Most assuredly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”
25When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  ---Matthew 19:23-26 (WEB)

The first thing that is almost American in this passage is that the disciples are astonished that it's going to be difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Our society is so wealthy by world standards, and we behave so arrogantly at times, that it's hard sometimes to imagine that God isn't almost obligated to give us the Kingdom.  The disciples' astonishment speaks either to their perception that everyone is wealthy; or, that they thought that people buy their way into God's special graces.  Of course, neither one is true.  Salvation, going to heaven, entering the Kingdom of God - whatever terminology one uses for the falling into God's Eternal Love -- is impossible for us to do on our own.  It's not something one can buy or earn.  No one can behave well enough, obey enough, or do things right purely enough.  Humans simply cannot save themselves.

But while the entering into God's Eternal Love through our own merits or actions eludes us, God happily reaches past our puny efforts and lifts us up. In the words of the Mary Oliver poem, "Wild Geese":
You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting...

God cares enough - infinitely so -- to reach down and lift you off your knees, to pull up on your chin, to lift your head heavenward and say, "Enough of this, you are my child.  I know what you need.  Just be at peace."   Just be at peace!

Embrace us in Your Eternal Love and affirm in us that You are enough.  Help us relax into this comfortable place next to You.  Let all worry and concerns melt.  In Christ we pray, Amen.

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