Living a fruitful life seems a noble goal. I will… A great prince once listed some goals of living a fruitful life:
‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
Hell yeah! I will where you couldn’t. I have mobility, cunning and if necessary, ruthless coolness. I will. I will satisfy my body, I will be known, I will achieve. I will not be stopped. I’m not like you. I am able.
I once talked with a very confident monk in a city with poverty comparable to what was displayed in Slumdog Millionaire. I asked him about the anguish of children where he lived and served.
He proudly declared “I feel nothing; I’ve meditated”. He willed
himself to block out things tempting him to care about. He willed to reject all attachment.
I changed the direction of the conversation to the paperback he was carrying. It was a novel in English, a hard find. His speech quickened
as he told me how fortunate he was to come across it and how much he was looking forward to studying it. I asked if I could see it. Beaming, he handed his prized possession to me. I turned it in my hands and raised one elbow preparing to rip the book. He lunged in anguish. I grinned; ‘guess you haven’t meditated on this, huh?” Handing him his book I challenged him. “I don’t want to hurt your book or you. You should be grateful to care about this book, not ashamed; how much more the people around you?”
I told him that Jesus was a man, but not like the monk. Jesus was moved to compassion; he cared. He cared enough to say, “not my will, but yours” to the Father. He cared enough to be attached. His attachment was not symbolic, it was full. He attached to all of us, including our willfulness. He attached to our sin and took it on as if it were his own:
Isaiah 53:3-5 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
Good is real. Evil is real. Evil can do horrible things to good, but full goodness overcomes full evil. The hope is in the death of our sins in Jesus’ death by the Father’s wrath and the life of our God’s will for us in Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus is our hope of being healed and ushered in to peace. What will we will?