If we want to know God,
then we must know God
And if we want to know ourselves,
then we must know ourselves
as givers, too.
When we are willing to get over ourselves and to give up trying to arrange our lives around our own desires, when we are willing to release our need to be seen as wise and intelligent and in charge, and to accept the wisdom offered to infants, Jesus is there—offering the yoke made by his own hands that will bind us to him, leading us to follow the voice of the Father who graciously wills a life of abundance created for us before the beginning of time.
God is always the most interesting part of the story,
and that much is certainly true today.
But let’s not ever make the mistake
of confusing “interesting”
for “simple,” or “predictable,” or “tame.”
Yes, our God is different from all other gods.
He is compassionate, not capricious.
He is merciful, not mercurial.
He is relenting, not ruthless.
But even still . . .
he is God.
“We belong to God,
but God does not belong to us.”
You know what?
Jesus is right:
at the end of the day,
his love is better
than any other family,
any other relationship,
any other political leanings,
any other identity,
any other club,
any other tribe
that I will ever be a part of.
His love cuts like a sword through it all,
and without reservation or condition,
declares to my hurting, selfish heart:
“YOU . . . ARE . . . MINE.”
Sometimes getting to yes is as simple as letting go of no, and finding that each and every yes—however long it takes to get there—opens us to a life of abundance and blessing beyond anything we could have asked or imagined.
On this day of Pentecost,
which was once about the giving of God’s Law
to just a select group of people,
who made up only one nation . . .
God turned everything upside down
and made it about
the giving of God’s Grace
to all people,
to every nation,
We need to learn again how to share the Good News, just as the disciples had to learn 2000 years ago. But we are not left comfortless.
According to Luke, (and as offered in this painting by Brian Whelan) it must have been a miraculous, stupefying sight for the disciples who reported witnessing Jesus leaving them for the heavens.
If all Stephen had—if all we have—is the Jesus kerygma, then what we have is a dead man who died years ago, hanging on a tree. That would mean that today is just another weekly funeral liturgy where we come together to eulogize this man Jesus, to remember his teachings, and to try our best to be like he was. But brothers and sisters, we have so much more.