Is it time to cross the threshold?

08-16-2013 | Bob Sabath

The theme of day was discernment. How do we know? How do we know the time? The time to cross a threshold? The time to stay where we are? The time to wait?

We looked at the conversation between Mary, the mother of Jesus and Jesus as they tussled together at the wedding feast of Cana. One gets the sense that Jesus liked a good tussle. He seems to have done it a lot. Anyway, the text is John's Gospel chapter 2:1ff. In this matter of discerning whether it was time to begin the next chapter in his life Jesus seems to be fairly clear that it is not the time. But mom has a different idea. We imagined that maybe, just maybe Jesus was afraid to step out. After all this was a big moment, a major threshold. Sometimes it seems that the other in our lives may know more than we do. Sometimes that's mom. We imagined the probable many times that Jesus and his mom tussled throughout their lives (think of the boy Jesus in the temple). All this is familiar. Just like us Jesus was in a real human family where disagreement was real and he was not always in the know, not always right.

This story raises a question about the kind of conversation that is helpful for discerning next steps. What conversation am I in now about my next step? Is it helpful? Or not? If not how can I begin a new conversation? Or shift this conversation so it is helpful? What is the conversation I need to be in now for my growing and well-being?

In our small groups yesterday we worked with laying aside the rules. The rule is: listen only. Each small group worked with this rule and some felt it important in the moment to lay aside the rule to ask question and engage the speaker after the speaker was finished. Principle: the Sabath was made for human beings and not human beings for the Sabath. Rules are intended for our benefit and we need to know when is the time to lay aside the rule for the well-being of the person. How do we know when it is time? When it is time, we asked, to lay aside our precious beliefs and ideas for the well-being of ourselves and the other?

We looked again at Rilke's poem the Swan. How does the Swan know? Does the swan have a way of knowing that is deeper than deep? A wisdom of body and being? An intuition that in some way we all share?

We touched on the story of Peter and John walking by the temple gate called "beautiful." There a beggar cried out for money. "SIlver and Gold have I none but what I have I give to you — rise up and walk," said Peter. Question: What do WE have? What do we have in the name of Jesus and Love for the well-being of this world? What have we/I been given for the transformation of this world?

Finally we worked with the beatitudes: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice. Having let go of our possessiveness and our anger, feeling our grief, becoming gentled we are ready to enter the world with a genuine hunger and thirst for justice. Like the Swan we are letting go "of the ground we stand on and cling to every day..." Like Jesus we are able to let go of our ideas in order to listen to another and change and in the process we become fine wine for others.

Listen to song: For the Sake of the People.
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