Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How we get there...

"So when Jesus came, He found that he (Lazarus) had been in the tomb four days." -John 11:17

Jesus was slow.

In fact, one of the "ways" Jesus got things done in His ministry life was by "walking". Strange choice of transportation. You would think that the Messiah would have a 1 century Pope-Mobile or something. Wasn't there places to go, people to see, citiies to evangelize? What kind of admin assistants did He have for dead and dying people's sake?

Didn't he know that "night was coming" and "the time to work was almost gone?" Was walking really the best way to "maximize his ministry"? Are you telling me there wasn't a host of fine, Arabian horses around Palestine that He and his disciples could have used to gallop through Galilee, Judea and Samaria on a city reaching tour? Didn't He know that walking was really slow and not an efficient use of the really small amount of time He had on Earth. Was it really necessary to spread the kingdom via hitchhiking, boating and sightseeing?

Instead of strolling on lakes and riding donkeys and meandering along beaches, instead of hanging out in the country, mountain climbing and camping in the desert...couldn't He have travelled faster, farther and to more places along the famous Roman roads? The very roads that connected the then known world with unparalleled ease?

Walking isn't 'How" you should spread the good news of the Kingdom...not many people will hear it or be able to experience the ministry God gave Him to accomplish.

But to God walking is the means by which we get most things of value done. To God "how" we do something is more important than "what" we get done. It was the same then as today, the how isn't really important to most people...we just want to get something done. The means are justified, if the end is accomplished. We are less concerned about "who" we are, than "what" we do.

I think this is the message of Christ in walking, more than anything. I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything...I think we all long to accomplish much in this age and justice calls for it in the streets. But how we choose to engage that work in the streets is critical to the formation of our soul and the kind of community of faith we become. Jesus heard the call in the streets but according to his disciples He didn't even raise His voice in the streets. He chose to hide more than reveal, He spoke in parables instead of writing out His teaching in clear and concise pamphlets. He told people not to tell others about their miracles instead of sending them off on a "Go and Tell" evangelism campaign.

Yes, He walked...and sometimes people died because He took so long getting there.

His ways are so...not like ours.

I remember taking this picture on one of my canoe trips. I also remember the ski boats whizzing past me in a surge of water and ear splitting noise. I am sure it was fun...but I will never regret the steady, slow, meandering pace of my time in Upper Priest Lake. It was much slower for sure...but in that pace, I experienced life in a way that could only be felt. I came alive because I went slow.

I think less people would stay dead if more people walked like Jesus walked.

Slow is needed today...more than ever.
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