“No I don’t want to battle from beginning to end
I don’t want to cycle and recycle revenge
I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends
And in the end we lie awake and dream of making our escape”
(If you go to a Coldplay concert Wednesday night, you feel the need to quote Chris Martin, still, on Saturday.)
In Vamos Tamaulipas, the colonia we go to several times a year, when it rains, some of the streets flood to the point of being almost impassible:
Our shoes get muddy. Our vehicles struggle and sometimes get stuck. We take the long way around to avoid the mess. The earth, over-saturated with the water it so desperately needs, is overtaken, water displacing the hard ground that we want beneath our feet when we walk those should-be dusty streets.
It’s Saturday morning. I am doing the coffee/reading/praying/thinking routine. I read Matthew 7:28-29 this morning. Jesus had given the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Matthew records that “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” There was something about Jesus. There is something about Jesus.
This time of year means prepping to go to the colonia takes a lot of time. I so, so want to see the team succeed, and success in this venture means connecting with and deeply loving people. I suppose that is how Jesus amazed the crowds with his teaching. He had authority because he understood God’s heart and thus naturally put it into words and action. That, in turn, displaced the crowd’s assumption that teachers of the law taught without the grounding of reality underneath their feet. Their lives and words did not match up. Something lacked.
What is compelling about Jesus, about humanity, and about our interaction strikes me in those couple of verses. Why is it that we are struck by someone speaks with authority? Why is it that someone who is fully alive, fully living out of who they are supposed to be… why is it that someone like that is unnerving? Why does it amaze us? Is that not how we’re all supposed to live?
My heart is desperate. Really, it is. It is desperate for love
I suspect what helped the crowd understand the authority of Jesus was the way he looked at them and love them. Fully. As they were. And the way that changed their lives?
Well, it saturated their hearts to capacity so that the overflow flooded the streets. Truth displaced hardness of heart. Those who were passing by could soak in the crazy, beautiful mess of it or else take the long way around and miss grace personified.
When we go to Mexico in a couple of weeks, I hope our rubbing shoulders with the kids and their parents so saturates all of our hearts and the overflow fills the streets. With hope. With healing.
That makes it all worth it. This life…it’s the best possible way to live.