Harried But Sadly, Not Harry

I believe my problem is that I always envisioned myself a type of Harry Potter with God as my Dumbledore.  Call it delusions of grandeur, but I imagined my life had some special purpose, that I had some particular battle to fight in the grander war against Darkness which biblically has ultimately been won by God Himself.  Like Harry, my role wasn’t about any intrinsic value in myself and all victories would come from power outside of myself, usually with reliance on others.  But nonetheless, that special partnership between student and Master was mine with God.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
 All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.

 What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.  Eccl. 1:2-9

“All things are full of weariness…and there is nothing new under the sun.”  What pursuits have meaning or are worth the toil?  The poor will apparently always be with us.  Instead of racism getting any better (and by better I mean less, diffused, eliminated) it seems just to get firmer, more solidified, stronger and more impenetrable.  Unlike Harry, there is no concrete sense of progress being made, no Horcruxes seem to be destroyed, we’re not getting any closer to Voldermort and his death eaters are just multiplying.  And perhaps Dumbledore is on a mission, but I haven’t seen him in ages.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim. 3:1-7

Well great.  Encouraging.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.  Eccl. 12:13

So it comes down to “work as unto the Lord”, the beginning and end of all things, the only just judge and the redeemer and sustainer of all life.  I am not to work for what is visible but what is invisible.  Blah, I’ll be honest, I’m too American.  I’m too postmodern.  I’m probably that “weak willed woman” the Bible was talking about, so easily rerouted.  Plus, its just not fun to keep pushing against walls and conflict and disagreement over things that aren’t universally considered important, necessary or significant.  Oh where is my Dumbledore?

 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.   Is. 30:20-21

Beginning to Sink

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out,“Lord, save me.”  Matt. 14:28-30

It is not difficult for me to jump out of the boat and believe I can run across the water with my focus on Jesus.  When the call is made to “pick up your cross” and follow Jesus into the darkest places, the leprosy colonies and to the places most readily rejected by the mainstream of society, my heart beats fast and I can’t tie my running shoes quickly enough.  But once I’m out the door, out of the boat, the waves obscure my view of Jesus and the mist gets in my eyes, the shark fins and seaweed gather nearer and my balance is off and my head feels swimmy and I think, “What the hell is the point of this anyway!?”

It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.  The poor will have good news preached to them.  Give what you have to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven!  Become less that He may become more.  Jesus came not be served but to serve.  The God of creation is on the side of justice!  Jump out of the boat!

Do not show up in a neighborhood as if you are the doctor and those already there are the perpetually sick!  Who are you to be so arrogant?  It is so typical of white people to assume the position of power, to come in and take over, to tell others what they need rather than listening and waiting and learning.  Christian, don’t assume you’re bringing God to the neighborhood because He is probably already there working long before you arrived and will be long after you depart.  Those kids you stayed up with into the wee hours of the morning, advocating for with the police, caring for with car rides and childcare, they were just using you because you’re too nice.  They don’t want your friendship.  When has their Mama ever called just to hang out?  She only ever reaches out when she wants something from you.  Your forcing something that nobody wants and nobody has asked for here.  Sinking sinking sinking.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.  Psalm 37:23-24

I’m glad to see that falling and being cast headlong are not the same.  Near drowning is not drowning, so I’ve got that going for me.

Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  Matt. 25:32-40

It is Jesus who has clothed me in Him, covered the shame of nakedness, fed me His bread of life.  He has set me free from the prison of sin and death and called me His child though for a while I was not.  When in a desert, dehydrated and in agony from thirst, the discovery a fountain of fresh water is not to be kept secret.  And so I suppose when in a boat, the discovery of that God Man is the only place where Life is to be found…where else would I go but out onto that ocean and to Him?