I wonder what images are conjured up when you think of the group of men and women who first gathered around Jesus? On the shores of Galilee living and working out of the fishing villages of Capernaum and Magda. I doubt these people were weak or bookworms. They lived in challenging times, constantly harassed by the Roman occupation who squeezed them for as much as possible in taxes to feed the Empire. Fishing was all night and life generally would have been rigorous. Faith and God in the midst of life was second-nature although many were disillusioned with ‘religion’ and had settled into the mutual tolerance of those who are stuck with one another.
When Jesus came to town he was revolutionary. God in him had power to heal, miraculous catches of fish where everyone knew fish were never caught – in the shallows during the day!? Jesus interacted with an easy non-threatening affirmation and acceptance of ordinary people – he seemed to like being with them and wasn’t constantly driven by anger wagging a rebuking finger. He offered insights into the meaning and purpose of life that was way beyond the smallness of Roman occupation or the restrictions of a Galilean peasant. He spoke of the Kingdom of God, truth, living with purpose and integrity in a selfless manner not enslaved to money as the sole motivator for commitment or effort.
As is true down the centuries when the ‘real thing’ begins to emerge our hearts resonate and we are drawn forward into a better place than cynicism or fear offer. Of course there is the moment of terror when we reach out and take a risk…. but that’s the essence of life – faith without an adrenalin rush from time to time is no life at all.
Too often perhaps we tend to defend our ‘present’ as if it were the ultimate… as long as we have a semblance of control and predictability. Then we plan incessant vacations and ‘escapes’ from the humdrum of our working lives – even though in Canada we are the envy of the world for our lifestyles and opportunities offered. Even tho’ the vast majority of the worlds population are incredulous at the privilege we assume we are entitled to, shake heads at the prospect of time off work, or retirement with perpetual income, or medical benefits, or financial rewards that are out of their world for a fairly easy eight hours work.
How’s the passion in your life… what’s the driving motivation…. how are you ‘living free’….. is Jesus anywhere in sight? If he’s not it’s certainly not because he has moved 🙂
Listen to these guys singing for an English commercial in a pub in England. I think they look like a band of the early disciples… except they were adverts for the life of the Kingdom and Jesus their king…. Something to live and die for and much more intoxicating than beer – without the hangover. Oh for that passion to rise up in me…. and you…. we could change the world… it’s hungry and thirsty but can’t find fresh bread or a clean water supply – the source of hope and joy transcending circumstances and setting prisoners free.