Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15
I am pretty sure that most of us can't quite wrap our heads around being thankful in all things. Maybe it's a little naive to take Paul at face value here, but if we reject his idea out-of-hand as being an unrealistic—a idealistic turn of phrase—what real difference is there in stepping out in faith with Jesus or reading and reacting to the events of life in the same way everybody else does? I think that by its very nature, discipleship demands a alternate understanding of this life and its events. But even if this is true, it doesn't make it any easier.
Jesus has his closest disciples—his closest friends—sit down with him for a meal, a last meal, before his arrest, trial and crucifixion. As an omniscient narrator I'd love to say, "Little did he know…" and spill the beans about Judas' betrayal and Peter's cowardice and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Cue the bah-bum-bah.) I'd love to, but I can't.
We are told repeatedly throughout the gospels that Jesus knew what was coming, knew what was going to happen to him and his relationships, but chose to keep faith with his heavenly Father. Of course there are ample scholars who would say that this, alone, demonstrates something-or-another and proves the gospel's mythic character. (meh) But in so doing I think they miss the point. And to leave no stone unturned, I think that we faithful have a tendency to miss it, too.
We Christians believe that Jesus did not sin—the only human being to ever live life just as God desires. Yet I often feel like we forget that "like us in every way" stuff concerning his nature. It's this latter quality of Christ Jesus that should bring us believers the most comfort and, possibly, the greatest conviction.
How can Jesus be thankful that night so long ago knowing what is in store for him over the next few days? We'll quickly answer as our Sunday school teachers taught us: "Because of his faith in God." I think, though, that if we were to pause for just a second, we might not want to answer so quickly. Has our faith kept us from hopelessness, anger and fear? Has our faith prevented us from making sure that we were number one? Do we even want the kind of faith that demands gratitude in every circumstance in life: a faith that brings us to our knees in service to our very betrayers?
The source of Jesus Christ's gratitude cannot be identified by merely one word. I better not be! Take a lingering look at the Apostle's words to Colossae, and think about from where his gratitude that last night might have arisen.
Claude Monet declared that, "Light is the most important person in the picture." If this is true, photography is about capturing the reflection of this light, capturing that which reveals the shapes, the textures, the colors, and maybe, just maybe, even the very essence of a moment. Photography is an act of preservation; moments with all that they possess—brought to us by light—recorded so that their contents might be shared with others or so that we might experience them for ourselves anew. Each time we reexamine these moments there is always the possibility of seeing some part of it for the first time. This is why I love photography.
Now, whatever you do don't push this button.Rocket Raccoon
So the story goes that as Daedalus is preparing to escape the labyrinth via his newly constructed wings, he instructs his son, Icarus, to neither fly too high—lest the sun's heat melt the waxen feathers—nor too low—lest he crash and drown in the sea. You don't have to know the story to guess the outcome: Icarus does a Wile E. Coyote! He gets all excited, ignores his father's instructions, gets his wings melted and drowns. Why would someone as smart as Daedalus is supposed to be construct wings from such weak—and meltable—material? We later learn that Daedalus goes on to found Acme, Inc., and to design the Hindenburg.
"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." This a become the maxim for modern America—maybe even for the whole of Western culture. When combined with Burger King's sentiment in "Have It Your Way" or Old Blue Eyes's in "My Way" the only possible outcomes are far removed from Paul's advice to not think more highly of ourselves than we should and to consider everyone else's needs as more important than our own. Is this advice idealistic? Of course it is. Have we heard it so many times that it has become prosaic? Of course we have. Yet to rage to win in all things and at all costs is a fool's errand.
All Site Content Copyright Patrick Cooley, 2017