Chapter 32 illustrates passages that illustrate Jesus’ lowly Peace March (Palm Sunday) into Jerusalem (see Luke 19:29-46). His message and the way he presents himself couldn’t be more opposite of the procession surrounding Herod as he rides into Jerusalem. To me, this story emphasizes the ongoing struggle of ruling with love (faith, freedom, hope, joy) and fear (weapons, threats, compliance). And maybe not even ruling, but even how a person can present themselves in various social situations.
About 20 years ago I was able to do something that I had wanted to do since I was a boy, learn to fly an airplane. There were many new skills to learn, many of them related to staying safe. It is very easy to get lost when you are flying, and being lost is bad. My instructor had a simple method to teach me how not to be lost. Practice. We would fly the airplane somewhere over Wisconsin where I would be asked to close my eyes, no peaking! My instructor would then take over flying the airplane while he switched off or covered every device that pilots use to navigate. After he flew around in a few lazy circles while my eyes were closed the test would begin. “Okay Rick, open your eyes and fly us back to St. Paul!” There I was, three thousand feet above the ground and traveling at 120 miles per hour in a completely unknown direction. I had been taught what to do in a situation like this, now I needed to do it. Find your way forward, Rick. Today I realize that I wasn’t just learning how to fly an airplane, I was learning an important life lesson.
Chapter 30 is one of the best chapters I have read in We Make the Road by Walking, and the reason is because it resonates so much with my life and has numerous connections to my daily experiences. There are enough “big ideas” in this chapter to write pages upon pages, so I will simply focus on a couple aspects of it. Matthew 6:19-7:12 discusses problems including treasures in heaven, worries, judging others, and asking/seeking/knocking to fulfill ones needs. It contains the verse my mother recited hundreds of times to me as a child “do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). As the author explains, the three core problems we experience as humans (as part of Jesus’ teachings) described in the passage are anxiety, judging of others, and lack of knowing how deeply we are loved.
How does this resonate with me? In no particular order, here are some:
Let me share a silly but true story. One day very long ago Little Ricky, me, was getting dressed and ready to go to school, probably to the first grade. My mother interrupted the process by asking me a question; “Ricky, when was the last time you changed your underwear?” I don’t remember my answer, I probably didn’t have an answer. “Change your underwear, Ricky, it is very important to wear clean underwear. You never know when you might get into an accident and have to go to the hospital.”
Never mind that I might be injured, the shame of dirty underwear would be too much for a proud mother to bear!
“Being kind is much more important than being right, for sometimes all a person needs is not a brilliant mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens.”
As we make the road by walking, it is often tempting to pave the road, to put up lights and want everyone else to follow by the same road. It is tempting to believe that the road is the reason we are walking— that somehow the road itself is what is important— and to want everyone to walk on the same road, in the same way, and to have the same experience we are having.
Welcome! Throughout this year, many of us at First UMC of the St. Cloud Region have been reading the book, We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren. We have had several small groups gathering together to discuss their faith and how this book is informing their faith.
For Lent, I thought it would be fun to have an online group to connect with around the same readings and to explore together with those who can’t make a small group, live far away, or just plain only have time at 11pm or 5am or on your lunch break and want to connect with someone!
So here it goes! We will focus on chapters 27-33 as we make our way towards Easter. Each week on Wednesday morning I will post a reflection from a church member on that week’s chapter. May God bless you during this focused time, this prayerful group, this community of “walkers” in the way that is Christ, this connection to God and each other, as we step into life this Lent and walk this road together.
Blessings to you! Pastor Leah