What is Power? How do we sort through all the sources or honor and control, and how do we navigate all the power games around us?
How do we participate in the Power of God?
This concept of "SURRENDER" is a central posture of the Christian life, but in a messy world, requires a particular spiritual vision...
Teach your body the vocabulary of prayer through the ancient practice of repeating sacred phrases with the rhythm of your breathing and actions.
This is modeled over and over throughout the Psalms (the Prayerbook of the Bible).
Today's prayer is from Psalm 143:8
"Hear the Story"
Mark 12:38 to 13:2
read with some commentary and a little explanation.
Why is Jesus so worked up about robes? What's the problem with pretty buildings? Why are we counting a poor widow's coins? How is Jesus seeing things differently from those around him?
the mystery of "Power"
the posture of "Surrender"
How do we "Surrender" for Victory?
How does Surrender lead to Victory?
Perhaps the better question is:
How does our pursuit of victory blind us from saying “yes” to God?
Surrendering to God is not the same as giving up. It is not abdicating. Surrendering to God is choosing a victory beyond what we can fully understand.
That, however, takes a particular vision.
Does it make “sense” to pursue honor and glory, or to serve an impoverished widow with nothing to live on?
[This is how Jesus sets up the choice in todays Scripture passage]
Why surrender our experience of success, affirmation, and wealth for a vague sense that we are somehow doing God’s “will”?
How can we sustain a life of giving up control–with no discernible reward–when we are surrounded by opportunities for immediate gratification?
Surrender takes spiritual vision.
Jesus points out, for example, that the dying widow, with nothing but poverty, is actually the person of honor in the jostling setting of prestige competitions.
Jesus points out, in other instances, that the weakest are the inheritors of glory, that the desolate places are where miracles are found, and that death is the place where God’s resurrection power breaks through most magnificently.
To follow along with Jesus takes a special sort of spiritual vision.
Sometimes folks call this spiritual vision “flipped,” (i.e. “the last become first”)
and sometimes folks call it “enlightened” (i.e: “you will have the light of life”)
and other times folks call it “witnessing” (i.e. “bearing witness with our spirits”).
We can Surrender our own pursuit of personal victory,
and we can Surrender to God’s movement and God’s ultimate victory,
When we can SEE the power that God is working with.
It is easier to forget about the trappings of power when you know that stone walls are going to crumble.
It is easy to surrender to God when we see what God is actually doing.
We could give up the fancy robes and accolades if we could see how God will throw it all out.
We could serve the dying widow who has no way to pay us back–-if we could see how God embraces her.
So how do we develop this Spiritual Vision that gives us the posture of Surrender?
One of the most effective ways of changing how we see and value is the practice of Gratitude.
Gratitude is a way of training the eyes on what God is doing.
We pause to look for the beauty and healing we have witnessed,
the connection and love we have participated in,
and the provision and miracle that we have enjoyed.
A daily practice of Gratitude (like in our evening Examens) leads to the honing of the Spiritual eyes (Paul calls them the “eyes in our heart”). The Gratitude discipline makes God’s movement pop out all around us.
Then, when we’re seeing God everywhere, it's really hard to take the long robes and accolades seriously. It is hard to see the city walls and marvel when all we can focus on is the miracle of creation pulsing around us.
We can Surrender when we can see, and gratitude teaches us vision.
Even when we find ourselves in dark pits and oceans of chaotic hurting, our spirits long to surrender into God’s complete victory and participate in real power.