Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mark 9:23-24 -- On Hope and Heroes

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
Mark 9:23-24

Christ offers so much hope here, telling us that all things are possible if we believe.  Wow.  What a powerful idea.  What a beacon of possibility and opportunity.  And yet, usually when we run up against this idea we turn away and give up, because we think that kind of belief is too hard.  We're too used to our own limitations.  We believe too much in the manufactured rules of our society or community.  Instead of believing God about our infinite potential, we believe that we were born a certain way, and that's it.  Evolution or society or our families caused us to be who we are, and they are to blame.  Maybe we say "the devil made me do it" or we even blame God for creating us a certain way ... forgetting that we are agents unto ourselves, that we have the ability to act rather than to be acted upon.

With God's help, we have the power to change.  All of us, everything about us.  We get to make that choice.  We don't have to stay where we are, or even *be* who we are anymore... we can be better.  We can overcome anything.  We can change ourselves, help others, save the world. :)  Basically, we're superheroes.  But we *have* to believe it.  We have to believe in ourselves, and in other people, and in the world to make it all happen.  Too often we see people making bad choices or we run up against some obstacles, and we give up.  We think that temporary setbacks are really "fate" telling us that its all impossible, that we're failures, that we don't have the ability or power or even the motivation to even change the channel, let alone the world.

In these verses, Jesus was talking to a man who was hoping for help for his child.  He had already asked the disciples for help, and they couldn't do anything.  So, his hope was probably already a little ragged.  He brought his son to Christ, and Christ tells him that it is possible if he can believe.  And this man, who wants to believe so much, but has been through many disappointing years of not being able to help his son, verbalizes the plea that is within so many of us: "Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief."  We believe a little bit... we try to believe.  We're trying to see God's vision of the world, but to us it is really cloudy, and it is hard to rise above the limitations that we believe in so much *more* strongly than our possibilities... and we, like this father, plead for help from God to make the belief that we do have enough... enough for his son, enough for us to take another step towards our goals.

Today, let's look to God and believe enough to take another step towards him.  Towards better selves, better service, and a better world.  Obstacles will come, and like the father in this story, we might have to have patience and faith for a very long time.  But, like this father, we need to persevere and never stop hoping and trying.  If we keep working to do things God's way, then someday we will see God's world... that perfect one that we've been working and praying for.  The one where we've built the Zion community, and things are better than they have ever been.  The one thing that can stop us from getting there is if we give up and stop believing it is possible.  Let's keep the dream of the happy ending alive, and ask God to help us as we move through the worst chapters and are tempted by our unbelief to give up on the heroes and the hope.

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