Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Jawdroppin' Jesus

What's the most exciting adjective ever hurled at you? Funny? Crazy? Caring? Compassionate? Nice... ? How about spellbinding. Now that's an adjective for ya. This rarely used word is the one used in today's gospel from Luke 4. Jesus is making his rounds around the towns and villages of Galilee (the sea of which is pictured above), and this time he's in Capernaum. The people are "spellbound" by his teaching. What a great word.... spellbound. It means "entranced by or as if by a spell; fascinated." But why were the people so entranced, you ask? Because he spoke with authority. Now there's something we need desparately today but are afraid to take, like nasty medicine that we know is going to heal but it hurts to go down; words of authority. The funny thing is, they only taste nasty when we are sick, that is, need to get out of unhealthy situations of self-righteousness and autonomy. When we are arrogant, anarchists, or anti-authority, words of authority come storming towards us, shining with all of the clarity, force, and power of a waterfall or a flash of lightning. They quite literally rock our world, like the words of Jesus did to the powers that be (or were) in his own time. But the truth is, we need a shock to our systems, so dulled as they are by soupy words, wishy washy words that dribble out from our lips or in opinion polls or from the media. We need a center of gravity. We need a Son to revolve around. In the me-o-centric universes that we can construct for ourselves, we simply end up floating through space like asteroids, bound sooner or later to crash into something. But it takes alot to convince us of this truth. To assure us that there is an Authority and a Law, and that we need to obey it (Him) just like the planets follow the rules. But we have the added challenge of doing so willingly, of placing our hearts and wills into His system. Falling in line with the Law of Love is the surest way of finding ourselves, of discovering our ryhthm, our pace, our deepest identity. All else is chaos. To resist his words of authority is to fall prey to the black hole of self-absorption, to lose all sense of space and time, to be bent... to be lost. The prayer today is to realign ourselves, reorient ourselves under His authority. So God, make our crooked ways straight. Draw us in and bind us to Your Truth. Then we can truly be spellbound, and in that binding we will truly be set free. "In His will, our peace." - Dante
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