So, once again Jesus tries to tell his disciples about his death and resurrection, but they were afraid; they blocked what Jesus said and went on as usual. At first, I wondered, ‘why didn’t they ask questions? Why didn’t they ask him to explain himself?’, and then, I understood their fear. It is difficult to imagine a messiah being treated as a common criminal or a victim; difficult to imagine a powerful leader taking less and giving more; difficult to imagine any other definition of leading and being in charge than what we have been conditioned to understand. To lead, we must be willing to serve and not to be served; to lead, we must be willing to give up all we have—give up our lives as we know it; to lead, we must be willing to carry the cross, the burden of others. If as Christians we position ourselves to lead the way in our communities, in our homes, at our place of work, we must also be prepared to be vulnerable and powerless like a child; we must be prepared to be last to receive, but first to be criticized, first to be dragged away, first to give up everything for the sake of love, first to make those difficult decisions. I have been thinking about the true meaning of leadership and greatness, and maybe I would rather hide and do nothing, rather follow without knowing or questioning, follow hoping to always be safe and sheltered from the difficult part of life. However, the day we got baptized and called ourselves Christians, we signed up for our turn to carry the cross as well, and we must not be afraid.
The readings are lessons in discipleship and trust…. trusting God. The most difficult words to obey are: Trust God. We hear it every day, we sing about it in church, and we read about it in scripture, but could we say that our hearts are open enough to just do it? Do we feel free enough to let go of our worries and fears and just trust God? We are good at worrying, trying to fix things, and sitting in our hurts, but isn’t it time to rest our quivering hearts? Isn’t it time to trust God’s love for us? Don’t you remember what God whispered to you just before you were born? God whispered, ‘all that you will find easy and all that you will find to be a burden and difficult, will all work together for your good, because you are mine. You are a manifestation of my love. Trust me to guide your path. Trust me.’ So, when life doesn’t seem fair, when we don’t understand why, and our hopes and plans are crushed, let us remember that God has our best interest at heart, and there is meaning; you have a purpose which is bigger than can be imagined. It is so, because you are a child of God; we are children of God.
Lord, forgive me for my shameful daily response of ‘why me?’