The Kingdom of God is Messy
“At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” - Luke 7:21-22
The kingdom of God was arriving in Jesus, just as promised in Isaiah and elsewhere in the Old Testament – it just looked different than John was expecting. John was hoping for everything to be set right all at once, as soon as possible. He urgently wanted clarity… What Jesus describes here is more gentle, organic, dare I say, messy process of life change, happening one person at a time, and bursting out in ways and places we might never expect. It’s a process that can’t be rushed and gives us no false allusions of certainty. It’s beautiful, hopeful, but also sometimes… disturbing.
Pope Francis challenges the church this way: “More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, ‘Give them something to eat.’”
Would you talk with Jesus about how you may be “shut up” in fear and how he wants to set you free to love more generously today?