Your life is doubtless full of controversy. It is terribly uncomfortable, but the little bit of shining light is that you’re in good company.
There is a good tendency to see Jesus as a person full of hope, joy, love. While these are completely true, we also have a good tendency to gloss over his absolutely controversial nature. In fact, it ultimately led to His death. There is no doubt that Jesus was a peacemaker. There is no doubt that Jesus was a boat rocker, especially according to the well educated in his society. In wedding controversy and peace, He is a great oxymoron. Jesus calls us to be like Him. This means, in a very uncomfortable way, that we also need to be boat rockers.
Our purpose isn’t to try to tip the boat, or to get some people bumped overboard (Lord help us), but to rock the world as God becoming human rocked the world. To create friction that leads to static electricity of Jesus’ message. To cram that shovel into the dirt, and turn up the soil so that it’s ready for a seed to be planted.
Okay, enough with the lame metaphors. We are a controversial people. Or, we should be.
And yet, Jesus was most definitely a peace-maker. One of his titles is Prince of Peace. His application of peace is more vast than immediate experiences, though. It is not, as we might say, for instant gratification. How do we reconcile Jesus, the controversial peace-maker? How do we become a controversial peace-maker?
If you’re waiting for an exact formula here, I only wish I could provide it. The only hint of an answer that I can figure is that I need to be on my knees more and asking God what exactly I should be doing here. Bottom line is this: the less I think I know, the more the Holy Spirit shows up. And I think there’s great wisdom in this approach. It certainly helps take a load of my shoulders, and put a lot more on God to figure out.
Maybe we can ask to see the world through God’s eyes. We can attempt to look at life here and ask God to fill us in on the big picture. We can open ourselves to the Spirit guiding us and leading us, especially to those places where being Jesus-controversial will make a difference and bring about His peace.
No, Lord, I did not expect that someone would pop up and provide the tuition for a course to do evangelization work with young children, amid my priest’s hesitancy, but, well, here we are.
Jesus, I did not appreciate that homeless person knocking on my car window exactly 30 seconds before I was going to chow down on that Arby’s sandwich, asking for some food. But, well, here we are.
Mary, I know this person is devoted to you, but I really did not appreciate being put in the position of having to kindly share that immigrants also have God-given dignity, but, well, here we are.
Holy Spirit, I admit I’m so very, very frustrated with my child who has gotten under my skin, spilt his milk, and has had bickering arguments with his sisters, and did not expect that giving a hug instead of time-out would have such a happy effect. But, well, here we are.
Sometimes it means saying staying in the ordinary. Sometimes it’s reaching out to the extraordinary. Sometimes it means being politically incorrect, as Bishop Morlino recently told a number of graduates. The one thing that brings out the controversy, however, is always Jesus. He was controversial in His time, making the Pharisees and Sadducees angry at the way He was interpreting God’s word (which was, in large part, their defined job). He is still controversial today, even to Christians and Catholics.
The Christ wasn’t accepted by His own people, He wasn’t accepted by the people in His hometown, and He wasn’t accepted by high-class society. Jesus made friends with blue-collar workers and outcasts. His words fell on deaf ears and people walked away from Him because what He was saying was too much to handle, or too ridiculous.
But He is the Prince of Peace. In his own way, He brought about peace through the controversy, and it was because the controversy was never about the person, but about their fundamental idea of lasting peace. Jesus was changing what peace looked like, much to the chagrin of His society. It irked people. If I’m fully honest with myself, it sometimes irks me too. Especially when I don’t want to admit there’s more to something than my own soapbox opinion. But we seek to cure what’s deep inside, and Jesus is the only one who provides that cure.
How is Jesus challenging your understanding of peace? Where is the Spirit calling you?
Copyright 2018 Jane Korvemaker