Rising Leader Series: Week 10 - The Jesus Journey
Updated: Mar 16
EVERYTHING OR NIL
Across the globe hearts strive to lead lives worthy:
Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, Jews.
Christians, too, like me-- each of us searching
to live in sync with creeds we each hold true.
I offer you my Christian perspective.
But first I honor searchers everywhere,
who dive past the cozy, unreflective
towards depth-- while dodge dogmatic, doctrinaire.
For we who claim Christ’s creed, our task is simple.
Jesus is either everything or nil.
Not just trappings, superficial prattle;
we’re either Jesus-changed or soul-stuck-still.
For me, at least, Jesus is love, truth, grace.
Step you into His cross-crushed-hand embrace?
For the past two months, we have been wrestling with an important question: “Who is God?”
Our approach has been trinitarian. In January, we explored God the Father. In February we turned to God the Holy Spirit. Now in March, as we begin the “march” towards Easter, it’s time to turn to God the Son– Jesus Christ.
When, in His infinite wisdom, God chose to reveal Himself in human form, He could have descended as conquering king, in the prime of adulthood, in robes resplendent, with the heavenly choirs heralding His arrival. But that’s not how He came. Conceived to a teenaged, unwed mother, He came into the world bloody, naked and weak. Born in a lowly barn, His first crib was a cow trough, attended by a frightened mother and bewildered adoptive father. Thirty-three years later, the Savior of the world would die as He was born– bloody, naked and weak.
What can we take from the fact that the great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, Almighty God on High, Creator of Heaven and Earth, entered humanity on the bottom rung? Stripped of any trace of majesty or glory, He came to us (in the words of Mother Teresa) in the “distressing disguise” of poverty and weakness. As He entered adulthood and began His ministry, He sought out the poor, the homeless, the prisoner– to the point of becoming the same. It seems to me that this offers a powerful lesson in servant leadership. From the moment He was born, to His death on the cross, to His rising and ascent into Heaven, Jesus continuously gave away His power. God (in the form of Jesus Christ) always found the greatest need, and then descended right down to it. He preached what he practiced:
“And sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’”-- Mark 9:35
Piety lived out solely in private prayer and religious ritual is a hollow piety. Far too often, we keep "our faith" and "the world" separate. But Jesus shows us that faith comes to life in the world. The Christian way of surrender is the descending path– towards the bottom, the edges, the suffering. Prayer and ritual are good inasmuch as they draw us towards God, and towards a full Christian life of service to others in need. “What Would Jesus Do?” This is the Christian’s most important question– how to live, as Jesus did, in the knots and tangles of life; how to serve the need in front of us.
In Jesus’ teachings; in His use of time; in His relationships with the powerless and powerful; in the interrelationship between God the Son, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit we can discover many layers of meaning. Over the next three letters I will explore just three attributes of Jesus: His love, His truth and His grace. These alone are a good beginning.
What’s love got to do with it? Find out next week.
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” --John 14:6
Blessings on the journey!
Previous Weeks' Letters: