Sunday, 30 October 2016

Accepting the new future God brings

In answering the call that is God, which is a faint indistinguishable whisper in the background of our lives, we are plunged into strangeness.  However, it is this very strangeness and difference that holds us back from embracing that call.  Fear and insecurity in the face of the unknown holds us back from a deep commitment.  We often watch and watch like a watchman keeping a look out (Hab 2.1) waiting to see or catch the sound of God's voice whispered on the wind.  Yet, when that call comes we turn aside and look inwards rather than outwards for fear of the presence of God's call.  Our security is found when we look inwards and form walls of legislation to hold the incipient call out.

No matter the wall, God calls us to open ourselves up to our neighbour.

Unlike the prophet we do not stand in anticipation for an answer but on the lookout for something that makes us uncomfortable.  This is true of all institutions and individuals in today's world.  We only have to look at the behaviour's of successive Australian governments and their pursuit of independent appointments who are the voice from the outside (aka Trigg and Gleeson).  We are all called to see the vision of the future that God brings to us, not in fear but with joy, so that we can fulfil the potential of that call.  It is a scary place, especially for those who have embedded themselves in places of power and authority, whether that is financial, political or other.  We are never sure of what God's call means and it is this uncertainty that creates a void in our lives.  We would like to own the future but God's future is more likely to own us removing our power, our authority, etc.

Scripture gives us an example of how we should act, in the spontaneity of a child and the 'rashness' of inhibition. The small man Zachaeus (Lk. 19.1-10) has the desire (vision) to see the Christ and in doing so places himself in God's path.  In doing so he has already thrown away his dignity and status by climbing a tree. He is like the watchman looking out to see the call coming towards him.  In receiving a personal call he not only acts but does so with alacrity ignoring the disapproval of the crowd.  If we have only the reports of the words asked of Christ regarding 'sinners', how much more would the insults have been for the man Zachaeus, who was already despised.  Our response often indicates the level of our fear for the new. It indicates how we can create the negative place/state that we in actuality abhor, yet this is where we retreat to in defense.  Can we looking out from our comfortable place envision a displacement of our lives from our control into the hands of a future that is uncertain and incomplete but filled with God's presence?

This starts with our neighbours, or rather it starts with our attitude and response to our neighbours.  We may not want the other to be a part of us but God's call is for us to encompass, include and walk with our neighbours.  We are to love them through adversity, triumphs and sickness not because they are rich, not because they will be able to do something for us or to smooth our path in life.  The only way we can begin to know, let alone love, our neighbour is to begin to see life as they see life.  Our problem is that we see life as a problem and so knowing our neighbour becomes a problem.  Christ challenges us to walk with our neighbours and to see through their eyes as we begin to love them.  This does mean though that we should be able to meet them in their own spaces or at least in spaces that feel comfortable for them.  Christ goes into the home of Zachaeus he does not ask him to come to him.  He does not put up a fence and make it difficult but rather opens his heart and his will to see Zachaeus for who he is as a person of the people of God.  Not judged for appearances (job, political views, sexual orientation, race, etc) but for the person who is Zachaeus.

God calls us into a new future that is different, that is changed.  How we respond is up to us as we listen to that deep call on our lives.  We can build our walls and fences even higher or we can dissolve all of those barriers and welcome God's call not in fear but in hope, not by turning inwards but by embracing those who are different and out side of us.

No comments: