I discovered this verse recently
“As he was . . . Luke 19:37
The RSV has it right – “deeds of power” – dunamis – our word “dynamic” comes from it
That’s why they were there that day he came to Jerusalem – his deeds of power – what comes to mind:
- Water into wine, walking on water, raising Lazarus.
- He’d healed a mother, a son, a sister, a brother.
- And he’d taught so well – those stories.
- The disloyal son.
- The good Samaritan.
- And always the same point.
- This is what God is like.
- Loving, caring, stopping evil.
- Yes, deeds of power!
Power can be a scary word:
- Power in the hands of the greedy is dangerous – the CEO’s.
- The terrorist.
- The sick man in Binghamton.
- Real – but it’s not Jesus’ power!
Jesus’ power is loving, caring, healing, setting right what is wrong:
- “This is a house of prayer; you’ve made it a marketplace – out!”
- I will – be clean.
- All of you come and I’ll go to yours – eats with all.
- That’s the Jesus they knew – the Jesus of good power.
Now the great, good news is that Jesus shares that power with us:
- Receive the Holy Spirit – as the Father has sent me I send you – why you will do greater things than I
- have done – sure, our risen Lord is with every one of us, all around world.
- Workers are taking pay cuts.
- Why we even talk again about no nuclear weapons and ending poverty.
These are deeds of good power – and they are Jesus’ works through us! Forgiveness is good; power to cope and overcome is better!
How we need this power – thanks be to God it’s here; he’s here:
- This Palm Sunday to call to mind the places where we need this good power,
- This power to love, to care, to heal, to right what is wrong.
Here are some places we need Jesus’ power.
* * *
There’s a lot of heat and a lot of anger about who got us into this economic mess.
The media keep us angry – they use all the loaded words – “What’s their gripe?” – hardly predisposed to understand.
Let’s restrain that anger with the power of Jesus to bind evil and help us to dialogue about what to do.
- Dialogue – real dialogue – is a work of Jesus’ Spirit in us.
- My son and I are learning to dialogue – the heat of argument is gone – in its place is real exchange and each of us is seeing the other side in a way we have not before.
Power to dialogue, not argue or retreat – out of dialogue God brings a greater good than we’d have achieved on our own.
- Labor and management – fierce.
- George was a senior warden.
So, let’s draw on Jesus’ power to restrain our anger and be part of the search for the way ahead together.
* * *
What about worry? We worry about our income; whole economy; family – Can Jesus help?
- He sure can – power to restrain worry.
- Worry is wasted energy, wasted energy.
- Remember Jesus’ saying, “Those lilies of the field – seek kingdom.
- Be caring and just and help those without a job.
- Not what you think you need, but what you really need – people who care and who talk.
- Patience and trust that what we need is there – people.
Jesus gives us the power not to worry; do the little things
- Make your home caring;
- Make your town fair and just;
- Make your work or volunteering places where jobs are done well – be competent.
“Your heavenly Father will give you what you really need.” Jesus, give us the power to do the right and loving things in these uncertain times.
* * *
Time magazine’s cover story last week is “The end of excess; why this crisis is good for America.”
- There’s more excess to cure than they see.
- We all need to watch our carbon footprint – lights, driving.
- To give our 0.7% to the Millennium Development Goals – our bishops have called for us to act:
- End extreme poverty and hunger.
- A primary education for everyone.
- Promote gender equality and empower women.
- Reduce child mortality.
- Improve maternal health.
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
- Ensure a sustainable environment.
- Develop a global partnership for development – aid in development, not weapons (most of our US aid in years past, due for a change).
Making these changes – caring for others, living less indulgently – these all take power.
Be honest – we don’t have that power in us on our own;
- We need help.
- It’s in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
* * *
And help is here – “Lo, I am with you always.”
- Jesus is at hand with all the power of the Lord of history to set right oppression and with all the power
of the Spirit to work through us.
- That is the great Gospel – the power we need is here!!!
- Power to restrain our anger and push to win an argument – rather power to dialogue.
- Power to lay aside worry – give ourselves to caring for those without jobs to setting right what is wrong.
- Power to make the changes we need to make – to reform our banks and to reform us the users of banks and loans and credit cards – demand honesty and budgeting our own money.
They came because they had seen his deeds of power
- We’ve seen them too – we have
- You’ve seen Jesus’ power – draw on it
- To see God’s kingdom, God’s power
[The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab; Coordinator of Member Mission Network, Inc., President of Member Mission Press, Chair of the Spiritual Formation Committee for the United Church of Hinesburg, VT, Author, Speaker, and Workshop Leader.]