May 5, 2005 by Isaac Hovet
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I would like it if we could stop all religious services and focus on these powerful, but little uttered, words of Jesus.
It isn’t tough. It isn’t obtuse. It isn’t weird. This Jesus is natural. He is not concerned with perpetuating some tradition, but wants you and I to know freedom. Freedom from selfishness, from greed and from a me centered way of thinking and living.
I pray that I move forward. Not backwards.
When I get legalistic I must refocus and zoom in on what is significant. What is important is the existence of a greater, more meaningful way of living. It is the way, the code, the ethic, the values, the teaching, the aura of Jesus. When he speaks of the kingdom, this is what he is referring to. It is not some unseen monarchy, but an invisible reality . . .
Jesus’ death is not all that is important. It is his life that frees us up. Evangelicals need to learn this. How did Jesus live? How did he love? How did he relate to those who weren’t “moral?” Shouldn’t we reflect that? Our hope is not in the Religious Right, the Christian Coalition or George Bush. Our hope lies in the freeing life of Christ. Can you imagine if we all became humble servants? Can you imagine the poor being served? Can you imagine people who valued human life over the bottom line? We could change the world.
Oh, wait . . . that is what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. It wasn’t only his resurrection that is significant. It is his life which infected 12 people and, subsequently, much of the known world.
We are so reductionary. We take the complex, dynamic life and death of Christ and reduce it to simple swallowable steps. In doing so we miss out on so much of what Jesus taught.
Turn the other cheek?
Blessed are those who are poor?
Blessed are those who lack?
The first shall be last?