Monday, 11 March 2013
texting matthew ten
Mt10v1-2 This one a fumbling and hidden asking, rather than a well-oiled meditation for the world. Jesus, you've given me authority to pray for healing of every kind of disease, even vicious and longstanding cancer, so I want to pray in your name for this particular miraculous healing. How do I pray it over them? How do I pray it with fear and trembling at a distance, in this weighty thing? How do I use your name with the right authority? Please God.
Mt10v3-4 There is a list like this with your name on it. Lk10v20 Is49v16 Ac29v1.
Mt10v5-6 of the many theorisings as to why Jesus sends the disciples first to the Jews before the Gentiles, I read it this morning to remind that there is no special value to 'overseas mission' above its being missional. If we live abroad I want to live abroad for the joy of newness & adventure, not a label to hide behind, not to pin ourselves to an organisation. & I want to be missional there with no different a heart to the mission I am on now. Oh, London, I am sorry I don't give you my best. I see the shapes this present moment's mission might take, & ask God to fit me to task. Dear sheep, there is a shepherd here & now. Mission is a heartsong, an overflow. There is no point going somewhere else to love on people until you've let God teach you how to do it here.
Mt10v7-8 As you go. On your way. As I was going to St Ives. Evangelism via. Betwixt, between and en route. Jesus commissions peripatetic drive-by multi-taskers, tasked with 'proclaim...saying': “use words because you have to” but in the same breath, “do these supernatural actions, because you have to.” I say you have to, but primarily you get to, it is compassion rather than duty which behoves us, it is the absurd generosity of our freely-recieved which obliges us, leads us further up and further in to the mystery of the doing-and-saying of freely-giving to others the keys of an at-hand kingdom, freely-distributing to others a swiss-army knife of healing-cleansing-exorcising...This exercise of sacred texting is never more hypocritical when it meets Jesus' words to praying healing like this. Help me God, help me textees, help me to help London find healing, on my way to work. Today if you hear...
Mt10v9-10 the truth revealed about the human heart. & the work of Jesus is always towards surrendering our substitutes. Money, sex & power continue to take hold of us where we do not take hold of God, we go to them for Is30v2 protection, security, coping, where we do not know the ultimate safety of Jesus. There is no contingency plan after Jesus. The conditions of generosity: To Him: all I am I give to you, all I have I share with you.
Mt10v11-12 Abide: requires a quality of permanence more than a quantity of time. Abba Anthony: 'In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it'. Despite the hypermobile hegemony we move in, we know the goodness of this 'staying', we know the wisdom of stability, we know the authenticity of required/enabled by such a long-term attitude, even at whatever actual time scale God permits us to stay. We know this from specific individuals in our lives, indeed, in all antipodean love, in every expat paused long enough to give and receive a quality of 'home'. See Jesus is calling his crew to be hypermobile, but, not to the exclusion of affirming the roots they borrow and nurturing the quality of a place...'Worthy', in the Hebrew, same word as 'to give alms'. Will the poor, the evangelist, the Christ (Mt25v40) find our homes worthy?...'Greet/peace.' Our currency is peace. Peace be with you. Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.
Mt10v13-14 shake the dust off & go elsewhere, dear heart, when rejection threatens to sit right in there and take up cap. The experience of certain words or behaviours, or lack of them, interpreted as rejection, reiterating old lies, taking up so much space...this is not what your hear is for. Your heart is for treasuring and pondering Lk2v19 holy mysteries, for meditating on Ph4v8 good, noble things. So shake off the dust of rejection dear heart.
Mt10v15-16 'More' and the danger of comparative praise. 'Bearable' and the euphemisation of horror. 'Will be' and the difficulty of supporting an hypothesis of non-hell on the tense of a verb in translation . These are less interesting than the coinciding of this reading with this evening's Am4v6-11 'yet you did not return to me...yet you did not return to me...yet you did not return to me' – all this talk of hell, of hell's pre-emption, are a calling us back to our first love, calling us back to a dustiness shaken off, calling us fresh to come-and-play, urging us to go-and-tell. And 'hell' (and hell) is the only sufficient signifier to conjure the infinite gap between life-with-God and life-without-God, which is our ecstatic force. Noting that it will be worse for those who do not offer hospitality (v13 'receive you'), and thinking about N, what is serpentine wisdom and dovely innocence in this?
Mt10v17-18 I am doing something wrong.
Mt10v19-20 Apt words from the Word made flesh. These verses are timely. Please pray for the questioning colleagues who doubt the capacity of words to carry substance. Words: be unanxious in your ad hoc, off-the-cuff, improv evangelism, because God wants fruit even more than you do, and he has a wealth of personally profound and provocatively prophetic words for individuals, eg. 'I am going to pray for your shoulder' .. 'It's been killing me for weeks' #boom. .. Words: be bold in your philosophy, T is one semiotically ensnared: 1 - all religion is but the multiplication of words, and 2 - God is unsignifiable. But God has broken into our wordplay, our guessing games, the loop of self-reference and self-reverence. The God who creates with a word, Gn1v3, does not leave it there, he is the author who enters his own story Jn1v14, a living Word begetting lifely words, testimony to testimony, faith to faith, begotten by words.
Mt10v21-22 So at some level we hate each other, naturally competitive, in our insecure fear of unbelovedness, rejoicing over others' failures. Jealous of their joy. So we are as Jesus finds us, and – unbelievably – goes about changing us. We are to endure, this is how we are saved. What does it mean to endure? Not to grit one's teeth and 'endure' the difficult other, not to turn away from the world to 'endure' because the heart is made of stone, but it means loving, because 1Cor13v7 love endures all things. Love endures, love endures. Mike Mason knows it, that love beats the ego at its own game, by resting on a belovedness that undoes insecurity's hatred. I am overwhelmed in discovering this anew. So Mt5v44 love your enemies – knowing, as here, that your 'enemies' are usually those closest to you. Love has a power hate doesn't know; So8v6-7 get swept up.
Mt10v23-24 'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!' As we see how deep the rabbit hole goes with Jesus and his gospel-to-Go, there are these things to hold in tension, speed but not haste, risk but not undue recklessness. I think that, even in little decisions, I am looking for a hill to die on (rather than looking to a hill to live from) – a passive aggressive martyr complex, a workaholic Jesus-is-coming-look-busy mode of callous, and indeed fruitless, expedience. The gospel is a being towards death boldly, fearlessly, authentically, but not so eagerly that we forget that there is urgent work to be about here and now, pragmatically. Oh Phil, don't waste your life, in vain avoidable deaths, time is short, have the humility to save your to-live-is-Christ life. Picking one's battles wisely and keeping all wedding planning centred on good news, the good news, the urgent good news.
Mt10v25-26 'Revelation constitutes a veritable inversion of objectifying cognition' – Levinas. And Westphal's commentary alongside this that this is experience of dispossession rather than possession. Revelation, contrasted with disclosure, is necessarily personal, it is an Other person who reveals, revelation is definitionally authentic, and it bids the self come die. And it is glory. Jesus reveals a glimpse in Mt17 transfiguration, that will be the full face-to-face Rv22v4 of The Revelation. Christ Jesus is the Other who reveals in an ultimate way. Nothing will be left untouched. Height breadth depth, Jesus comes with truth, which revelation always bestows, and the truth is that He Himself is the Truth. A double inversion, a grace that implodes in on itself to an infinite point, leaving nothing untouched.
Mt10v27-28 There is a happy mischief-maker flyering corners of London with 'Jesus[heart]Wikileaks' complete with the v26 reference. Yes but. These verses are more than a wry decal. Jesus is sending me, we, you, and us, out to v7 preach the Kingdom, and v8 heal the sick. It is to this end, for this cause, that we are to be rebels, truthers, iconoclasts. And it is in the service of this cause that we will face known-unknowns, and unknown-unknowns, that might beg our fear, our paralysing prudence, our cautious deference. But not. Oh fear not Phil. We are casting ourselves onto such unknowns for the cause of such a gospel, by such a marriage as ours. Fear not. In this world, for every possible unknown, when it comes to light, there is a bigger Known, that we are blameless and beloved before the one who could would and should otherwise destroy sinner Phil, body and soul, in Hell. But not. Blameless and beloved.
Mt10v29-30 As we move from fear to love, we see dimensions of the same thing, through different bits of glass. It is our knowness. The primary divine epistemology is that we are 1Cor13v12 fully known, only then to know. Connected to the God who uncovers – as God's thou is revealed, I discover I am uncovered, unhidden, fully known all along. Here is the root of my value, which comes as a grace, a gift: known and loved, known and loved, known and loved.
Mt10v31-32 'Fear not!' Jesus repeats important things. 'Fear not!' Jesus repeats things we are liable to forget. 'Fear not!' Jesus gives us the how and why and wherefore of this fearlessness, and he builds an argument for fearlessness based on your 'value'. You. Are. Valuable. Have you grasped this? What is the worth of your person? What can you give in exchange for your soul? Have you pondered what currency your value lies in? Have you considered how to spend it or where to invest yourself? Oh, know you have value because you are valued. You are infinitely valuable because you are valued by an infinitely flawless value-giver. You are considered of worth, purpose, utility and delight towards a great and glorious end, and that end is the display of the glory of God. And he will secure it, he will secure you. .. v32 'acknowledge'. Footnote. Give yourself away. Let your guard down. Scary? Fear not Phil, fear not.
Mt10v33-34 v33 Forgive me, dear Christ, for disowning you today, unacknowledging the One I love, even after a warning. Forgive me. Own me. Know me. Here I am. v34 The Ph4v6-7 peace that passes understanding vs the peace the Jesus did not come to bring. So we infer that Jesus did not come to bring a peace that we could understand, not risk management or a quiet life, but weighty rest, like drops of gold, with a holy fight bursting out from it. The rest and the rupture, thank God.
Mt10v35-36 Leaving and cleaving is made uniquely possible by Christianity, because Christianity is a glorious heterodoxy – our's is not a tribal deity. Thus it is not merely permissible to err, nor fashionable to be different; it is Life to be heterogenous. Our security from sharks is not in the undifferentiated expanse of sameness across the skin of our tribe, as if we were James' Giant Peach. We are not safe and sufficient because or the size of our tribe or household, but rather, because we are persons conceived in the mind of Mounier's God, who has an infinite capacity for the indefinite multiplication of these separate acts of love. We are secure in God's superabundance, and in this security we can comport ourselves with a radical love towards fathers, mothers, mothers-in-law; a relationship of Gift alone. Grateful am I to have found myself so encouraged in this freedom by these relations.
Mt10v37-38 37 Of not making an idol of your husband. 38 Of needing your husband, to be the mirror to the self that must die. The gospel bids me come and die, this heart. We are at war, it is the fight I want.
Mt10v39-40 Jesus played with words, so play we. Reading v39 requires a concept of 'life' and 'Life' say the commentaries. So also we might adopt two 'finds'es: the 'Founded in 1986' self-made man will be unmade and dumbfounded. I play too far. The verb is important however. When you speak of your Life, what verb is primary for you? Did you build it, buy it, inherit it, earn it? Rather, and embarrassingly, did you find it? Mt13v44 like treasure in a field, like flowers in a skip – there is nothing to boast of in that verb 1Cor4v7 .. v40 receiving you, receiving Him. Though we are Other, we are One: to live is Christ, (to die is gain? (v39)). This strange union with God, is a profound mystery indeed Eph5v32. And we stumbled upon it! Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily.
Mt10v41-42 42 Not means-ends reasoning but getting swept up in a story bigger than my self, and so 41 if you bless the prophets you get caught up in their reward, that is, participation in someone else's story begets more blessing, unlike Mt6v5 asserting one's self for display for display, which limits reception, freezing itself. And we like to say such things but it is a difficult thing, to give yourself to another person's story, it is 39's death to self, a painful joy.