Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Be Bold!: Ordinary 28, Year B

This Week's Lectionary Texts:
Job 23:1-9, 16-17 or Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Psalm 22:1-15 or Psalm 90:12-17
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

This Week's Reflection:

When I began to reflect on the lessons for this week, the word that came to mind is "Boldness." It can be found right there in the midst of the Hebrews text - telling us to "approach the throne of grace with boldness." This led me to see boldness in the other texts as well.

Job was certainly bold. I'm always fascinated by the general population's understanding of Job. Where did "the patience of Job" come from anyway? He definitely endured much and remained faithful as he did; however, he wasn't patient and he certainly didn't live into that faithfulness without questions. In this week's text, his anger is clear. He longs for the darkness rather than to continue to live through the nightmare that his life has become. He was bold enough to claim this, to own his feelings, and to ask God the really tough questions.

Mazatlan Cliff Diver by Lisa Andres
The Psalmist does so as well. "How long, O Lord?" and "Why have you forsaken me?" Bold questions from the created to the Creator. Where does that boldness come from? Is there something about our despair that creates in us a bolder faith?

But being bold doesn't necessarily mean we have the faith that God desires for us. The man in the Mark text was quite bold in his willingness to approach Jesus and ask what was required of him in order to have the eternal life he was hearing so much about. He was even bold enough to claim to have been a perfect follower of the commandments. But, when Jesus speaks those words of giving up his possessions, he seems to be unwilling to do so. He walks away sadder than when he came. This, in itself, is bold in my opinion. Without hemming or hawing, he simply walks away from the life that Jesus is promising him. He doesn't try to explain what a good person he is. He doesn't remind Jesus that "some of my best friends are poor," he simply and boldly turns and leaves.

Be Bold Decal
So it would seem that we can have a type of boldness that brings us to the very throne of grace or we can have a type of boldness that leads us away from the Christ. And it seems that Jesus is saying neither of these paths will be very easy. As Peter boldly proclaims, "We have done it, Jesus! We have left everything and followed you. When will we see the benefits?," Jesus reminds him that receiving eternal life is absolutely and completely impossible - when we try to manage it on our own. However, if we will boldly approach God and allow God to manage things for us, Jesus says, "Nothing is impossible for God."

That is a pretty bold statement in and of itself. Thank God for a bold Jesus!