Another guest blogger: Kimberly Knight. Kimberly is the Circuit Rider for The Beatitudes Society. A graduate of Candler School of Theology, she brings to her theological musings more than fifteen years of experience across a broad spectrum of technology settings including multimedia production and instructional technology. She currently serves as the pastor of an online congregation that has been gathering for two years in the cyber-world of Second Life. Kimberly, her partner and their two children are active members of Kirkwood United Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia.
When I read the title of Troy Bronsink’s post I imagined a little bit different post than what I read. The title spoke to me in the way you say to someone – ‘Oh you are waiting for doctors to make house calls again – Don’t hold your breath.”
Well in reading the scripture assigned to the upcoming Sunday (according to the RCL if’n ya follow such a thing) is the Lucan account of the temptation of Jesus after hi 40 day retreat and fast. This text has always raised critical questions for me – especially when I was young and attending literalist churches. The questions I would raise often got me “un-invited” from Sunday school classes and Bible study groups. Questions like why would Jesus even entertain the devil? Or, How can the devil “take” Jesus anywhere? Or why is it that God handed the world over to the devil in the first place? How can the devil offer something back to its Creator…and so on. But these questions are not what this post is about, well not exactly.
In the temptation and the passages that immediately follow, we see a clear answer to questions that may have been bubbling up out of the mouths of youngsters in the synagogue for years. If God is God, why is it that we, His people suffer? Did not Psalm 91 (also on the roster for this week) say that angels would lift us up if we only have faith. That we would have nothing to fear, no harm would come? If only our hearts are full of God. But we know, and Job knows – Don’t hold your breath. That a’int the way the world works.
The reason I imagined Troy’s post to be heading in the direction of “Don’t Hold Your Breath” is that I know Troy, and I know that he cares deeply about justice and peace. He does not hold his breath – he does not wait for the government, or even a miracle to make justice here and now.
It seems to me that Jesus was about to teach us in corporeal terms, what God will do – and how. Instead of falling into the temptation of believing if we are righteous enough, God will lift us up on wings of angels – protect us from all harm, Jesus walked out of the wilderness and in the very next passage proclaims what he is to do, what we are called to do —
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And then he sets out to DO that, one sermon, one parable, one healing at a time. Working in this world for God’s justice.
If you want to see the year of the Lord’s favor, to see release of the captive, alleviation of poverty, healthcare that restores sight to all the blind – don’t wait for God to lift the righteous up on wings – Don’t hold your breath. I invite you to be intentional this Lent to look for ways to be in partnership with God.
Take a deep breath and get out there and work WITH God to bend that long arc of the universe.