Walter Brueggemann: No more business as usual!

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” John 14:6-14

“Jesus ends His testimony to Himself, “Do the works that I do.” We know from the ancient story what His works are: He healed the sick; empowered the lame, blind, and deaf; cured lepers; and welcomed the poor. His work is practical bodily transformations for well-being, most especially among those left behind… The new way, the new truth, the new life is a way of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, and above all, love. Self-giving love is the hallmark of gospel life. The radical call of baptism into Jesus is a continuing process of putting off old behavior and putting on new conduct. No more business as usual!”

Walter Brueggemann in Gift and Task: A Year of Daily Readings and Reflections (Louisville: WJKP, 2017) 46.

Notice for a moment where I went to start learning about kindness in 2019. Yesterday, we began the year by sitting at the feet of C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest professors of all time. Today, we heard from Brueggemann, maybe the most prolific biblical scholar in our day. Yesterday we learned that kindness was unusual. Today we learn why. Only those who say “No more business as usual!” reflect it.

Kindness has absolutely nothing to do with our old way of living. It’s only exhibited in the new way of Jesus. As we follow Jesus, we see him do little things like touch a person who is broken and hurting and they are healed. His little steps appear as big acts of kindness. When we go and do likewise, empowered by God’s love, our kindness leaves those we serve better than we found them.

As we go about our day, it’s the little things that make a big difference. A kind word can give a person hope. It can open the door to sharing with them the reason for our hope, that is, about Jesus who is is the way, the truth, and the life. Kindness opens the door for even greater things like helping people go from slavery to freedom, from blindness to sight, from limping along to running the race set before them.

Jesus, we exalt you as the way, the truth, and the life. Provide the strength we need to serve the weak, the wisdom we need to guide those who wander, and the love we need to heal the broken. Sustain us and cause your grace and kindness to flow through us in the little things so that it transforms all we touch for Your glory. Make it so in 2019 and beyond. Hear our prayer in Your mercy. Amen.