What if… we discovered the Messiah is one of us?

April 29, 2011 by  
Filed under What If? blog

Thank you to Ivy Chapel Member Rod Hertenstein, who recently shared his personal “What if” reflection with the congregation during worship.

The “why” of these “what if” moments is to imagine what is not, but could be. To dream, of spirit filled ways we could grow. This is hard. There’s a cost—making dreams real means commitment, follow through. Hard enough, but there’s something else we need now to name, something even more daunting, because most visionary dreams require of us the thing we most seek to avoid, even dread, and that, brothers and sisters, is CHANGE. Big dreams demand new attitudes, sometimes a radically altered perspective.

We resist this because we already have perspectives and attitudes. Many of us, and I am included, have been sharpening and grinding our personal perspectives, our personal attitudes on all things, for decades. We live in this private zone of comfort– DO NOT DISTURB.

The thing is, my “what if” this morning may disturb your perspective. When you first hear it, you may choose to dismiss it out of hand as “ridiculous, unbelievable.”

Well, here it is: “What if we were to discover that the Messiah is one of us.”

I know, it does sound impossible, but humor me a bit by hearing a story. This is told by Megan McKenna: “Once upon a time there was a wise abbot of a monastery who was the friend of an equally wise rabbi. This was in the old country, long ago, when times were always hard, but just then they were even worse. The abbot’s community was dwindling, and the faith life of his monks was fearful, weak and anxious. He went to his friend and wept. His friend, the Rabbi, comforted him, and said “there is something you need to know, my brother. We have long known in the Jewish community that the Messiah is one of you.” “

What,” exclaimed the abbot, “the Messiah is one of us? How can this be?”

The Rabbi insisted it was so. The abbot returned to his monastery wondering and praying, excited beyond words. He would walk down the halls, past a monk, wondering, is he the one. Sitting in chapel, praying, he would hear a voice and look intently at a face and wonder, is he the one. The abbot had always been kind, but now began to treat all of his brothers with profound kindness and awe, ever deeper respect, even reverence. Soon everyone noticed. One of the other brothers came to him and asked “ what had happened?”

The abbot told him what the rabbi had said. Soon the other monk was looking at his brothers differently, with deeper respect, kindness, awe, reverence. Word spread quickly: the Messiah is one of us. The monastery was suddenly full of life, worship, love and grace. The prayer life was rich, devoted, passionate. The services were alive and vibrant. Soon the surrounding villagers came to the services, listening and watching intently, and many joined the community of monks. After their novitiate, when they took their vows, they were told the mystery, the truth that their life was based upon, the source of their strength, the richness of their life together: The Messiah IS one of us.

The monastery grew and flourished in house after house, and the monks grew in wisdom and grace before each other and in the eyes of God.” So the story ends. Could it be our beginning? Jesus taught us that the kingdom of God is within us. We proclaim the Messiah is among us, and the church is the visible Body of Christ on earth.

What if it became our joy to discover glimmers, thru words and deeds, acts of love and sacrifices, glimpses of the Messiah in each other– visible today in one person, tomorrow in another, but always present among us. Call me a dreamer, but what if we turned away from the faults, fears and failings of each other, and focused, like a laser, only on the moments when glimmers of the Messiah emerge in one another. What if this became our passion?

What then might we become, might we do together as Ivy Chapel, the Body of Christ, where the Messiah IS one of us?

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