As long as the Church bore witness from the margins in some sense, and as long as we operated from a minority position, we had greater access to the truth, to the Gospel, to Jesus. In our time we have to find a way to disestablish ourselves, to identify with our powerlessness instead of our power, our dependence instead of our independence, our communion instead of our individualism. Unless we understand that, the [teachings of Jesus, and Jesus himself] isn’t going to make any sense.
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Jesus (Mark 8:36)
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness
He was tempted by power
It was a temptation much like that offered Adam and Eve
grab all you can
all the knowledge, all the power
be like God!
As sat in the hot emptiness
Surrounded by the rubble of creation
Rocks strewn like the ruins of a fallen temple
The temptations came
to appeal to the people by giving them what they want
but not what they need
to hold a political rally and give the people a spectacle
so they would “worship” him
to grab hold of earthly political power
and control it all
Jesus rejected this way of power and domination
and chose a very different way
he taught a different way
turning the theology of power into a theology of
service, even suffering
blessed are the poor
blessed are the hungry
blessed are the meek
blessed are those who mourn (feel for others)
blessed are the kind and merciful
blessed are those who create peace
And it gets harder!
the first shall be last
you must give to receive
you must die to self to find yourself
you must die to live
you must put others ahead of yourself,
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2)
actually Paul said that! But he was channeling Jesus!
none of this makes sense if you have a theology of domination
none of this
it only makes sense if we live on the fringes
if we identify with powerlessness instead of power,
dependence instead of independence,
communion instead of individualism.
Jesus ministry started with the temptations
it ended on a cross
after another blood sweating, painful temptations
the path Jesus set it clear
and it is the only way to get to the Christ
who brings the Kingdom of God into being
here we sit, for 37 days
in the rubble of the world
in the twisted wilderness of climate change
and armed militia
and abusive and dishonest leaders
confronted by a choice
between the way of power and domination
and the way of servanthood and service
what will it be?
what will we choose?
No choice will be perfect
But I will make the choice that I believe is the choice that aligns with
Acceptance and inclusion
Kindness and generosity
Unity and compassion
Kindness and love