Matthew 21:17-19

         During Lent we walk with Jesus to the cross through the eyes of Matthew this year.  We reflect on our humanity with all its blessings and foibles, … ok, sins.  We live in the tension of having a foot in the kingdom of this world and a foot in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew has related encounters that remind us that we often misperceive who is first and who is last because the two kingdoms work by different value systems. 

         As we walk with Matthew, he now does an aside and shares that for the third time Jesus tells the disciples he is headed to Jerusalem to die and resurrect.

18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

         This is not narrative.  This is not parable.  This is not preaching.  Jesus is trying to prepare the people he loves for the trauma they are all going to walk through.  Now that I live in Florida, when the weatherman said hurricane Ian is coming, people prepared.  My daughter who had lived here told me to get cash because electronic machines might not work.  I laughed.  I did store some water.  I did bed down with a friend.  But indeed, many Wal-Mart shelves were bare and not fruit!  Indeed gas pumps did not work for several days.  Indeed winds blew.  But until I went through it I was a bit clueless like the disciples.  I hear but I don’t hear. 

         Right now I am living in the reality of a terminal diagnosis with my husband.  I know but I don’t know.  I have never walked through death with a beloved before.  Yesterday the lawyer said to make clear financial streams of what is his and what is mine.  Now?? I thought.

         Jesus has given the disciples the diagnosis for the hurricane, for the terminal situation, for the pattern of life – death and resurrection – but we don’t quite understand.  Lent is a time when we ponder that mystery.  We hurt and terminate relationships with others and God by the sins, the evil, and the shortcomings we do.  Our mouth gets away from us.  We make bad choices.  We know we are not perfect but getting our hearts around resurrection is a lot harder truth to believe.   We see it in the cycles of nature as a glimpse.

         Today let us ponder.  If we prepare for the hurricane and if we prepare for medical eventualities, how are we preparing for the truth of death and resurrection?  Do we laugh at the warnings to keep our faith current and active or perhaps not even believe we need faith?  We need to prepare for the reality of the kingdom of heaven as we prepare for the kingdom of this world.  Blessings as you ponder this!

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