Friday, July 17, 2015

The Don

In my churches, as we go chapter by chapter through the Old and New Testaments, we recently read Luke, chapter four.  There we see that those possessed by demons are not exactly welcoming to Jesus; they recoil from him, “Ah, what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?”( 34a)  This rejection, however, is nothing new, and is certainly not confined to demoniacs.  Jesus is not asked into most of the regions where he teaches and heals.  Jerusalem is especially hostile to Jesus.  Yet, Jesus goes to places where he is not asked. He saves and heals those who never asked him to come into their lives.  As God puts it in Isaiah, “I was found by those who did not seek me.” How can he do this?  The answer is simple.  Jesus goes to those places and people that reject him because those places and those people belong to him. They are his.  Through him all things were created, as the letter to the Ephesians reminds us. Do you remember how Jesus calls upon the Father in the garden of Gethsemane?  In the original language, it’s plain as day; Jesus calls his Father, “O Despot.”  The word means one of power, a “Strong Arm” as we might put it colloquially.  Now, granted, this “Despot,” this “Strong Arm,” is not the one of our imaginations.  God is a perfect gentleman, the Lord God has more compassion and faith in him than we could possibly imagine.  The Lord weeps over our violence and wickedness both in the Old and New Testaments.  There are vast differences between our Lord and even the great Don Corleone of Mario Puzo’s novel, “The Godfather.”  Let us not forget, however, that God is, in fact, the Don. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is the one and only “Don”; Lord of not just some segments of New Jersey and Illinois, but Lord of all creation.  We belong to him, in life and in death, we and all creation are his.  He goes where he wants because it is all his.