Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Testing Authority

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Mark 11:27-33

As a child I was always testing the limits and the boundaries of things. My sweet little dolly crib I dismantled and turned the side into ladders and the bottom, with wheels, into a fire truck. I climbed as high as my little chubby legs would take me. In high school, I swam with the boys team (there was no other) and the first class of girls to letter in a sport. Those were heady days. As a young mother, my urge to test limits turned into a need to set boundaries for another, to make the world safe for the little one, and to help her learn her way without being broken or hurt. I had total responsibility for another, we were her authority, and quickly learned just how hard it is to be in authority and take full responsibility for the care of another. From pushing the limits, loved moved me to making them. Being responsible and in authority has changed the way I look at the world and how I do things. When driving, I still fling my arm across who ever is in the passenger seat when we stop suddenly, even though all my girls are long grown into wonderful women.

We are in Tuesday of Holy Week and this journey we are on takes us to the edges of our understanding and our faith. The religious leaders watched Jesus heal others and were concerned. The edges of their understanding had been broken, the boundaries of their known world were undone. They, who were the authority, were afraid to witness the power of God in another. Jesus didn't play the game with them, didn't worry about the theological arguments that were loud and right there. He cared about the people, his whole ministry was for them and for us - the touch, the forgiveness, the reaching out beyond the limits to those who were shunned, isolated and abandoned. His authority and power came from love, and he lived his ministry, his journey to these final days in Jerusalem, with the authority of love.

Today, as we make our way through this Holy Week, I ask God to help us focus one love, doing those things which care, protect and feed others. May love be our map and our guide. As we walk the edge of all faith and understanding, into the passion of Christ, may we hold fast to the love we have been given, and may we trust the power we have been given to love unconditionally and to serve without tiring.

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