Calling Leads to Resistance Leads to Commitment

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Photo credit: <a href="">Abe Novy</a>

Mark 1:9-15

That was when Jesus came. He arrived from Nazareth and John dunked him in the Jordan River. As he emerged from the water he saw the universe as it really is, and he felt it resonate to his core: that he was God’s precious child, and God was joy.

But as soon as this had happened, the vision cast Jesus into a desert of uncertainty, where for 40 days he wrestled with the Resistance, where he came face to face with fear, and still the divine vision endured. Then, when John was arrested, Jesus returned to Galilee where he started working toward the goal. “It starts now,” he said. “The goal is close. Turn your life around! It’s going to be awesome.”

[See previous comments on:

  1. 1:9-11, Baptism Redefined
  2. 1:12-15, Getting Started
  3. 1:4-11, You’ll Know it When it Happens
  4. 1:14-20, Who Are Your Fans?]

In the context of the first Sunday in Lent, the first two of the comments above will be the most immediately relevant, and especially the second. Also, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
ought to be required reading for sermon preparation this Sunday. If you want an abbreviated version, read Pressfield’s own Cliffs Notes version: Do the Work.

This passage begins with the moment Jesus knows clearly who he is and what he is called to do. Immediately, he is also confronted with every reason why he should forget everything he knows and just go back to being an ordinary guy from nowheresville. These two experiences go hand in hand. It’s the human condition that you never know one without the other. Jesus was no exception. You and I are no exception. Your little church (or your big church) is no exception. The moment you know most clearly who you are and what God/the world/your soul requires of you is the moment when you will encounter the Resistance to doing it. It’s this simultaneous knowing and resisting the move from knowing to being which introduces the theme for Year B Lent.

For Jesus, the entire ministry – everything from here to the cross – is born (and borne) out of this tension between Vocation and Resistance. Against the Resistance, may your Lenten journey be one in which the divine vision endures. Turn your life around. It’s going to be awesome!