The most important event in all of mankind went about relatively unnoticed. One Friday afternoon, 2,000 years ago, God fought Evil and won. From then on, nothing would be the same for anyone anywhere, ever again. Yet this was no Gettysburg or D-Day. There were no flags or forces. No cheering of the grateful, tired people set free. This war was fought by one man, beaten and hated, nailed to a cross, on a dung heap outside of Jerusalem. It was witness by dozens, maybe hundreds — a far cry from the 300 million people on earth at that time. To the centurions, this day was all in a day’s work. To others, it was the tragic death of their son, teacher and friend. One thing is certain, for all who wept, it was a most certain defeat. The derelict on the cross was dead.
But at that pivotal moment when he was emptied and all was fulfilled, the centurion’s cried “Truly this was the son of God” — the first proclamation in the New Testament (I believe) confirming Jesus’ true being. From him, came another and another. On the road to Emmaus, and Damascus and in the crowd on Pentecost. Eyes were opened. We could see. And one by one, we became witnesses of Christ crucified and resurrected.
Now what do we do?
Making a difference in this world is a lot different than being noticed. I get that mixed a lot. I want to be seen, recognized and well regarded as a great mom, or a hard worker, or a good friend. In life and in my journey in faith. There are times I’d go to church in the morning and try and make eye contact with the priest so I could get my imaginary check mark on the good list. See and be seen.
Ah, but its not about that, right? Faith is transformation. And this week God weaved a few lessons together for me, Starting with:
‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
There is so much in this it’s overwhelming. But this was what God showed me: That loving God fully means with all emotions — anger, pain, fear, ecstasy, forgiveness. It’s not a matter of being nice all the time, it is a matter of motivation. That is, loving the Lord our God above all things, with all things and through all things. Being what people need when they need it. Being at the foot of the cross. And this love is a prerequisite, not a vocation unto itself. You cannot truly love God if you do not love all that he has created. Including yourself.
Which brings me to one more bit from Paul:
“Now you are Christ’s Body and individual parts of it. . . As it is God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. . . If they were all one part, where would the body be?”
We all have a place with Christ and in Christ. He will show us our vocation. It may make our egos cringe and will pass through the world unseen, but it will be right, and it won’t be about us. So today, let us pray that we can forget ourselves for a little while and fall in love with God and all God’s creatures. Then things will fall into place. We will see.