I have been on a spiritual journey of sorts most of my life. It has really intensified over the past 13 or so years, but especially the past 6 years. The intensity started over a short conversation with my daughter about Abraham and his son Isaac. I expressed how I didn’t feel I could ever be in Abraham’s shoes when he is lifting a knife to make a sacrifice of his son. My daughter basically said “it’s not a big deal Mom. Dying is not a bad thing. If we knew how wonderful it really is, we would all want to die right away.” Ok, so that’s not a direct quote, but that is definitely the gist. She may have been 12 at the time. Two years later tragedy struck when our same daughter lost 2 good friends in middle school to suicide. That was one of the most difficult periods of parenting. The thing that really stood out and amazed me was how such a tragedy played out in her life. There could have been such negative ramifications, it instead propelled her forward in faith in amazing ways. I am not saying the time was without struggles, but as we moved through it I felt as if my faith was dwarfed in comparison to hers. She grew in wisdom and in compassion. I was proud, yet somewhat mortified that my 14-year-old daughter seemed to have a better grasp on things than I ever had up to that point.
Well time has moved on and even now I am still amazed at how God continue to put the pieces of puzzle together in my life to give me a greater understanding of who he is. He is out of the box in my life and it has been thrilling to see and know and understand that He is so much greater than we are often willing to allow ourselves to believe. I have been reading Nurturing the Prophetic Imagination, a series of essays compiled by Jamie Gates and Mark H. Mann (Mark was a little boy in Paw Paw’s church years ago-that’s how I still see him) that are deep and astounding.
Last night, while sitting in the infrared sauna, as part of my war against Lyme disease, I read the essay, Prophetic Imagination in the Gospel of Matthew by Michael Lodahl. It was short but it took me the entire time in the sauna to get through it. There is so much good stuff in it. I loved this:
“In this second passage of Matthew, we read that Jesus responded , ‘If only you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice!” This ‘if only’ is fascinating. I suggest that it reveals a divine yearning, perhaps a longing of God for the world to be different, to be a place where compassion flows toward human suffering and need, where the hungry have plenty to eat and health care truly is provided for all. This ‘if only’ of Jesus is essentially the same pathos he will give voice to later in the Gospel when he cries out, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to it, how often did I wish to gather together your children, as a bird gathers her fledgling under wings, and you were not willing!’ Matt. 23:37 Matthew’s Jesus calls us to take seriously, indeed to feel, this divine pathos in the world, a divine desire for mercy that flows from the very heart of God the Merciful, the Compassionate.”
ahhh! To me that is so wonderful!
THIS, this video I saw today really puts things into perspective. How different we would be if we just really understood scripture in the way it was intended to be received, from a merciful, loving, compassionate God.
Check it out:
~Ciao for now