Tag Archives: rejection

That’s Life

Adi Holzer [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
The life is like a tightrope walking. Handcolored etching «Lebenslauf» (English: «Life» or even «Biography») by Adi Holzer 1997 (Work number 850). It is a part of the Rosentaler Suite from the year 1997.
Life – a rollercoster ride of experiences, pressures, joys, thrills, pain, so many different possibilities – good and bad.Sometimes life seems hard to bare.  The experiences that come upon us; the things we see happening to others that we find hard to believe, never mind understand; life and all its colours.

Colossians 1:11-20 (CEV)

11 His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.

12 I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who forgives our sins and sets us free.

15 Christ is exactly like God,
    who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
    superior to all creation.
16 Everything was created by him,
everything in heaven
    and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
    and powers,
and all rulers
    and authorities.
All things were created
    by God’s Son,
and everything was made
    for him.

17 God’s Son was before all else,
and by him everything
    is held together.
18 He is the head of his body,
    which is the church.
He is the very beginning,
the first to be raised
    from death,
so that he would be
    above all others.

19 God himself was pleased
    to live fully in his Son.
20 And God was pleased
    for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
    on the cross,
so that all beings in heaven
    and on earth
would be brought back to God.

I imagine, what we want most is for the bad things to go, to not have to face them in ourselves or others.  But perhaps that is not life?

So what Paul asks for are patience and endurance.

Oh Lord, I could do me with both of those.  Patience when things go wrong, when things aren’t fast enough, when I can’t get any answers, when I wanted something different, when I’m waiting, waiting, waiting…

And endurance.  To be able to stick with what happens.  Strength to continue.

I am pretty low on both of those qualities.  So the only place I am going to get them from is God.  His strength to keep on going, to live with, to get through.

Paul suggests that is the way to true happiness.  I’m sure it is.  The only way to cope with life in all it’s little (and big) surprises.  The only way to be truly strong.  Not to spend our time wondering ‘what if’, or ‘I wish that had/hadn’t happened’.  The strength to be.

Some people have had some horrific experiences.  They are truly awful, seemingly impossible to bear.  And yet, somehow life does go on.  Never the same, but life with a new shade.  Somehow, we manage to endure and find the strength.

I’m not trying to belittle those experiences, or offer glib answers – I’ve been to a few of those places myself and it is not good.

But the rest of what Paul says goes on to explain (if such things can be explained), how I learned to cope and to live again.  Though don’t let anyone tell you grief and pain pass – they don’t, they merely change.

Jesus was God’s precious son.  Jesus and God were together in the beginning, they made everything they had together.  God lived and breathed in Jesus.  And yet, God had to sit back and watch whilst his son was killed by those who failed to understand God.  Failed to grasp what he was asking them and showing them, and felt the need to get rid.

God knows pain, excruciating pain.  He knows how life can go, how different from what was intended, how far from the ideal.  God, in Jesus, knows what it is to be human, to feel, to hurt, to grieve.  God knows my pain, and he knows yours.

That’s how I can find strength in him.

Jesus took the pain.  The rejection.  The fear.

In doing so, he took ours too.  He took my pain back to God.  And that is why God gives me strength.  Because he knows.  He feels.  He shares. He gives me his strength when I have none of my own.  He is holding things together when I can’t.

And I need that.

Thank you Lord,
that you know me,
you understand me,
you care about me.

Thank you that you know pain,
you understand what it is to be human,
you didn’t shy away from pain
but took it.

Thank you for sharing in my pain,for giving me strength
and patience,
when I have none of my own.

I give to you
my tears,
my sadness,
my pain,
my fear,
my hurt

and I receive your strength

This is still a song that can break me

Doing a good job?

Matthew 21:33-46

Renters of a Vineyard

33Jesus told the chief priests and leaders to listen to this story:

A land owner once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he rented out his vineyard and left the country.

34When it was harvest time, the owner sent some servants to get his share of the grapes. 35But the renters grabbed those servants. They beat up one, killed one, and stoned one of them to death. 36He then sent more servants than he did the first time. But the renters treated them in the same way.

37Finally, the owner sent his own son to the renters, because he thought they would respect him. 38But when they saw the man’s son, they said, “Someday he will own the vineyard. Let’s kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves.” 39So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

40Jesus asked, “When the owner of that vineyard comes, what do you suppose he will do to those renters?”

41The chief priests and leaders answered, “He will kill them in some horrible way. Then he will rent out his vineyard to people who will give him his share of grapes at harvest time.”

42Jesus replied, “You surely know that the Scriptures say,

`The stone that the builders

tossed aside

is now the most important

stone of all.

This is something

the Lord has done,

and it is amazing to us.’

43I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands. 44Anyone who stumbles over this stone will be crushed, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces.”  45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard these stories, they knew that Jesus was talking about them. 46So they looked for a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid to, because the people thought he was a prophet.

So this is the inside story on what had happened to the vineyard.  How the grapes that should be so sweet have become so sour.

The owner thought he could trust the tenants.  He gave them clear instructions on what to do, how to keep the ground fertile, he left all the equipment that was needed, and left them to care and tend.  Yet when he sent his people to go to see the progress and collect the harvest, they were beaten and killed – each and every one of them – even the son.

God has left us in charge of the world.  We are charged with caring for the whole of creation.  How good a job have we done?  How have we responded when he has come to look?

Jesus was the most important thing that had happened in the history of the world.  He was the key to getting it on the right track again.  Yet he was rejected by those he came to save, tossed aside.  They missed what he was bringing to them.  They were too busy trying to make things happen the way they wanted it to, and missed the way of Jesus, the way he offered to them too.

The ordinary people had realised what Jesus was about, but the “powers that be” were having none of it.  They didn’t realise that without what Jesus brought, they could build nothing.

Do we sometimes miss the obvious?  Do we easily dismiss the one thing or person who may be the most important?  Are we missing what God wants to do, because we are driving our own agenda?

God has sent his son to the vineyard.  Will reject him and his ways, or welcome him and follow his ways?

 

Lord

sometimes I fail

in the task you have set me.

I do not tend for the world,

my community,

my friends – and those I would not call friends,

as you ask me to.

May I not be so quick to judge,

to decide who and what is important.

May I not fail to see you –

and what you are doing.