Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today’s text

Mark 10:23-26
Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!' The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, 'My children,' he said to them, 'how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God.' They were more astonished than ever, saying to one another, 'In that case, who can be saved? Jesus gazed at them and said, 'By human resources it is impossible, but not for God: because for God everything is possible.'


Jesus is having fun, and so should we. The eye of a needle might be understood as the tiny opening through which a seamstress passes thread as he prepares to sew. It is strictly a ‘no camel zone.’

But it was also the name of a low gate into the city of Jerusalem through which camels could not pass unless they got down on their knees and wriggled through, also needing to lose the payload on their backs. There was no other way they could pass through.

The camel gate speaks to me. Just more than four years ago, I returned to parish ministry after nearly 22 years doing other work, and I was carrying a load.

I carried a load of hurt and wounds from criticism and judgment endured while working in highly public positions. I carried a load of insecurity, wondering if I could still do parish work, wondering also if I really wanted to serve a congregation.

Could it be I only wanted to escape from the pain of criticism and nagging inner doubts about whether I had failed?

There was also a load of pride that made me anxious to share what I had done, who I’d met and the places I’d been. I was eager to be taken seriously because of past accomplishments and significant events in which I’d participated.

But this mattered far less to the new faces I met than I wanted. Few cared much about where I’d been or what I’d done.

I was disappointed by this. I wanted something different, some measure of acknowledgment from them. No more. Today, I remember this, and a strange but most welcome wave gratitude washes through my soul and fills me, bringing tears of thanks.

Realizing, however slowly, that past deeds and victories mattered little to those I had come to serve, I began to drop my load and realize that life is now and here, not then and there.

I began to learn to live … again. (Do we ever get it right?).

Learning to live meant being where I was, letting go of the anxious need to secure my identity and reputation by what once was. It means seeing and attending to what is front of you, no longer interjecting the load of the past into the present.

Being present, being in the now, the wounds of yesterday begin to fade, the self-imposed weight of needing to be taken seriously falls away and one finds freedom, the freedom to receive and share the grace and need of the present.

One enters a new way of being and living called the kingdom of God, which is always the kingdom of the present moment, which invites us to receive what is, to be open to what comes, knowing the love of God is in this moment no matter what else comes.

To know and find such love is to enter God’s kingdom and taste sweet salvation right here and now.

The kingdom is here and now, as I discovered it once more … when I dropped my load.

Pr. David L. Miller

No comments: