Friday, March 13, 2015

4 Things Jesus Gave (and Gives) His Friends

It is interesting to think about the things we ask and expect of God. This past week, I got to wondering: what if Jesus primarily trades today in the currency he most often gave his first friends, that early band of twelve?

This question got me thinking.

So I did what any good campus minister would do: I found a goofy font and asked some friends in my community.

Lots of Times, Jesus Gave his friends one of 4 things. Find examples of each to share.

stories

questions

Challenges

Love


what do you look for Jesus to give you? Has he shown you any of these 4 things lately?

Quick aside: what I discovered before anything else is that this exercise, shared with a couple of good  friends, is a tremendous way to remind yourselves of - or rekindle - your love for Jesus, the gospels, and God's love for you. Stories, questions, challenges, and examples of Christ's love, recalled from every season of life, flooded the page in our gathering's reflective silence.



Here's a not-even-CLOSE-to-an-exhaustive compilation of what came up.

Stories: "The Kingdom of heaven is like..." pearls, parties, seed scattered on a path. Like a woman who lost a coin and a shepherd who can't find his sheep. Like a net full of fish. Like disciples who won't admit to not understanding it all. // Two guys who went up to pray. A brother runs off with the family cash.

Questions: Which one was neighbor? What do you want me to do for you? Which one of them will love him more? Who is left to condemn you? Do you believe because you have seen? Whose face is on the coin?

Challenges: Go, sell your possessions, then follow me. Take up your cross. You give them something to eat. Stay awake. Don't worry about your life. Don't be afraid. Love your enemies.

Love: The rich man, again - how he loved him. The woman caught in adultery. Jesus calling his disciples his friends. Washing their feet. "This is my body." Come away, by yourselves, to a quiet place, and rest awhile. The power that went from his robe and healed the woman no one had noticed. "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

Of course, what Jesus seldom gave his followers is what we most often ask of him: clear answers, certainty, protection from suffering and/or those who suffer. 

If Jesus does talk today in the same ways he was inclined to talk to others before his death, it is probably worth our time to take a few minutes each day to quietly reflect on our encounters, circumstances, opportunities, and prayer life, and 1) ask by way of inventory about God's presence in the stories we notice - what they show us about God - and also to 2) collect the questions God imparts to us, 3) name the sometimes unwanted challenges God puts before us, and 4) reflect on the moments of love God has shown us. 

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