On Watching (for 02.26)
What a delight it is to gaze on these vivid Scriptures each week! I love it!
This time, it looks like they’re about watching:
Elijah will grant Elisha’s request, but only if he keeps watching. Elijah invites him to stay behind, but Elisha won’t hear of it. [read 2 Kings 2:1-12 here] And other prophets are watching from a distance.
The apostles watch as Jesus mysteriously incandesces into brilliance, talking with Moses and Elijah. They want to freeze-frame the moment, but Moses and Elijah fade and the Father’s voice says, “This is my son, marked with my love. Listen to Him.” And they see “Jesus, only Jesus.” [read Mark 9:2-9 here] Apparently it wasn’t mostly a moment the Father was after, but a listening that would be ongoing.
Then, more incandescence: Paul writes of “the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.” If I want to know what God is like, the best way to find out is to look at Jesus – he’s “the best picture of God we’ll ever get.” [read 2 Cor. 4:3-6 here] I’ll learn much from the Ten Commandments or the Epistles. But Jesus is on another plane altogether, for he is what God looks like, how God as a human acts, and what I am to aim for.
I’m reminded of Paul’s comment in Romans 12: Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. And that of the writer to the Hebrews, in c.12: Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor … and he goes on to talk about an ongoing, interactive relationship with God.
So this seems like a tantalizing invitation to keep looking: looking at Jesus as the pre-eminent description of what God is like; looking at my heart, and listening, discovering what he is doing in and around me; looking at others who follow him, and seeing how Jesus is working in their lives so I might learn with them.
Perhaps it is about seeing myself as part of God’s much larger outlook, and finding how to fit-in to that (as opposed to lighting my own torch and starting bonfires to warm God’s causes for him). Rather than building temples to what ought to be, perhaps I could become – like the Father said of Jesus – “marked” by his love. That threatens to shoot a shiver up my spine!
Elijah said, “That’s a hard one!” Indeed, hopeless!
But here’s good news: My task is only to keep watching.
How can God be so good?