The leper fell on his face before Jesus. He knew of the power Jesus had to heal. From his posture of humility he spoke, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus is mercy and compassion. He put out his hand to touch this man, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
In my own posture of humility, I too ask to be cleansed. I have no doubt of the answer I receive. My Lord is willing to cleanse me. His mercy and compassion are more than a story, it’s a truth.
Don’t think ‘cos I understand, I care
Don’t think ‘cos I’m talking, we’re friends *
Conversations are opportunities for both receiving and giving deposits of real worth. It takes a conscious effort to invest ourselves at times. My thoughts like to wander away at the first turn where interests differ. I sometimes visualize them as a balloon being un-tethered, floating away unnoticed.
A song drew my attention and I listened enough to hear its message. It actually stung my heart some. I could be both the giver and receiver for lip service; casual conversation where nothing was ever offered for investment.
If I wanted to care and be a friend, I’d first have to listen.
* Lyrics from 6underground by SneakerPimps
It felt like a last stop on a long road to nowhere. Her windows were rolled down due to the broken air conditioner in the compact car. As she came to a halt at the pumps, a cloud of dust flowed into the cab, sticking to her perspiring skin. She took a swig from a warm bottle of water and spit it out on the ground, trying to cleanse the grit from her mouth.
The old man who sat behind dusty windows barely acknowledged her arrival. Peeling herself from the cheap vinyl, she trudged to the nozzle and pumped the last of what cash she had into the tank. Digging into her pockets, she left the monies in a tin can on top of the pump, nodding her head at the old man. He didn’t seem to care much. This merely confirmed her conclusions about life in its entirety. No one cared!
A few miles away, an appointment was waiting. A canyon had her name in it. She’d seen it in a movie and confirmed its location on a local map. A last glance at her phone showed no calls had come in; this was nothing new. Leaving the station, she decided now was the time to hear the perfect exit song; a tune to justify her confidence that this had always been the answer; to go out with a bang.
The car was old, with a cassette deck that no longer worked. She turned the dial left to right but mostly static came through. One station seemed to come in and out of tune. Disappointed, she added this let down to the heap which had been her life. Leaving the dial tuned into the only sound available, she began to drive faster. Destiny would not be delayed another moment. Now was the time; enough waiting for anything that had never happened.
Her speakers which had been crackling only static, suddenly exploded with clear words of music….”save me, save, me, save me, I can’t face this life alone….save me, save me, save me, I’m naked and I’m far from home”….tears filled her eyes.
What crosses the mind when someone speaks about “radical”? We are probably most familiar with this term as it pertains to the human condition; those persons who buck the norm for what is expected by general performance measures. We often see this “radical” label given to politicians, sports stars or actors in mainstream. We also see it given to men and women of God who seem fringe when judged by opinion polls of mainstream religion. It’s a double edged label. It can either help or hinder one’s image if we care about such matters.
In our current culture, radical is most associated with the idea that someone is living “outside the box” of conformity. I suspect it would be a surprise to many that radical has a fundamental and basic definition. It’s synonymous with deep seated, foundational, essential, inherent, original, primary and profound. Most however are only familiar with the deviation of extremes for this definition. We merely recognize radical to be excessive, rebellious and insubordinate, to name only a few.
Essentially, to be radical we have to be freethinking. What does freethinking look like? History is replete with many examples of what some who were labeled as radicals were capable of. Some famous names would be Hitler, Martin Luther, Sir William Wallace, Queen Elizabeth, Rasputin and Thomas Jefferson. These names stir up our moral compass. They give us understanding for what it costs to be a radical. Whether we know them to be right or wrong in their convictions, each name took freethinking to the limits. The most famous radical of all who creates the final and divisive argument was Jesus.
A long while back I heard two words that touched me deep within myself, “free radicals”. I didn’t understand at the time so I merely wrote them down on a sticky note and posted it on my desk. Free radicals as known in health circles would be those atoms which hijack a stable molecule to try to stabilize itself. When this fails, more free radicals are set loose. Our bodies produce them normally but when they become excessive than damage can occur. (Simply speaking that is.)
I imagine our freethinking will turn the world upside down, but it may look as though we are attacking a seemingly healthy body of thinking. To be a free radical, our own life may have to be final and divisive.
I sat with my friend on the tailgate of the pickup while it slowly crawled along the banks of the river. I was reminded of simpler times; lazy summer days and less responsibilities. The sun was setting and fish were jumping in the ponds on the other side of the levy.
Our conversation felt easy, like a comfortable pair of shoes to put on again. The men were having their own chat. Time had no meaning in this place. Laughter echoed into the evening breeze while we caught up with the hearts we loved.
Changes had come. The fruit from many years of sowing was at hand. Watching my friends, I sensed they were only partially aware of what was yet to come. I knew the promises for them…fullness of joy, peace, restoration, inheritance, dreams, destiny, hope and a future.
My own joy felt complete to see them walking into theirs. I couldn’t express these thoughts, so I grinned and soaked in my surroundings. Some moments felt awkward as I was silenced in what I knew. They love me enough to not ask why. Later, as I lay awake, I felt tears come for what I have no words for.
I held her gift in my hand. It was a gift of faith. The expression was a mustard seed. It was so small I had to hold it up to the light in order to see it with my naked eyes. I am humbled to realize my Father would ask so little of my faith. He knows the frailty of my being. He loves me enough to meet my little with His much.
Mat 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
“Let’s Make A Deal” with Monty Hall. Just a memory I can recall as being interesting to watch when I was quite young. Recently, a resurrection of this same game show idea had come about; a game with temptation in the starring role. The premise was to offer a possibility in exchange for the sure thing. The choices were usually hidden behind multiple curtains or boxes. People hold a treasure in their hands but they are tempted to give up the treasure for the possibility of a greater treasure.
It’s a curious thing to me when I look at this game show concept. Something almost seems hopeful about it. If I look deeper however, there lies a reality where we are being taught to gamble. My thoughts are taken back to the Garden of Eden. Eve was living in the reality of a treasure for eternity, yet a cunning serpent coerced her into gambling. All she had to do was pick a fruit to eat; the lure was how a greater treasure of knowledge could be hers. We all know the ending to that gamble; she lost and we lost too.
Will it be door number one? Door number two? Door number three? Or will we hold onto our assured treasure?