Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

by The Rev. Edwin Chinery

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And while “…many believed in him” as a result of what he had done, apparently enough of them went to the Pharisees to express their concern. Then the High Priest apparently convinced the community leadership that it’s best to let one person be a scapegoat in order that…what? In order that the system in place might continue? In order that the faith community leadership might remain in their positions of power?

Priorities.

Natural Systems Theory tells us that all institutions are at risk, by their very nature, of eventually subsuming the original mission. Self-preservation becomes the priority — no matter how earnest and selfless the mission of the institution may have initially been. Could Jesus be aware of this? Would he have us resist such systematic change?

Mission-drift like this is so emblematic of “the old order.” But what will help us move into the new order? What will enable us to be like the earliest and truest Christians who, with God’s grace, took on the enormous and dangerous task of transformation?

In To Love as God Loves, Roberta Bondi bids us consider that humility makes all the difference. Joyful humility, rather than being an inferior position in the world, may actually enable us to live in the conviction that all human beings are beloved of God. We’re all limited in our frailties, our physical conditions, our emotional needs, and our proneness to sin. And yet we also, each of us, have unique struggles that only God is in a position to judge. Joyful humility = no judging! What a relief!

It begins to seem that humility is essential to living by Jesus’ two greatest commandments. That joyful humility is what makes love of God, self and neighbor even possible.