Pentecost +26 - Year C
A captain of a ship is to go down with said ship. You are to ride a horse that brought you to your present occasion. Nowhere is it mentioned that we are in this business of leadership, of community fellowship, in order to simply save ourself.
Warnings have been out for quite some time that the powers that be were going to extort their pound of flesh from Jesus (& you?) for subversion of the common-sense of the day.
How might a leader respond at a time of their evident overthrow? Usually they have staked their reputation and life on a particular process and they will keep at it. So it is with Jesus (& you?).
Luke records four last acts of Jesus in this 23rd chapter.
- Jesus stands simply mute before accusation
- Jesus blesses mourners with an affirmation that their experience is real and will be realer
- Jesus blesses an unbaptized, non-creedal request with a promise of welcome
- Jesus commits his past, present, and future into a larger picture
On this last Sunday of another exhausting Church Year (it is hard work to participate in creating a new heaven and a new earth) we come to a final measuring question about our progress and in anticipation of work to be done in another Church Year - welcoming without boundaries.
We know that to do so will be the set up for more Judas opportunities for others, more disappointments, having to go through the same re-education we have gone through before. Imagine the eventual havoc of a thief loose in heaven. Who else might be there, even without a formal welcome this side of a great divide? It just throws everything up for grabs.
We know that to do less will be the set up for our playing Judas in our day.
Since there seems to be no escaping - keep your eye on what you understand Paradise to be about. When others fall by the wayside you can still invite them. When you fall by the wayside you can still be invited. To see through the illusion and ratify the experience of suffering is to set it in a larger context, a part of which is Paradise.
You may want to leave a note for yourself where you will regularly see it as an affirmation of your ongoing work, "I am a door-opener and welcomer of Paradise." It is that upon which you can survive the realities of this past year and upon which you can build for next year.