You know, it's crazy, really. It's crazy that, as I sit here, rain on the windowpanes, the shuddering of traffic driving by 12 floors below me, desk light illuminating my textbooks. I have electricity. I have warm clothes. I have a bed, two pillows, a home. Yet, I find it so hard to make out the figure of Jesus, and follow Him.
When a man came up to Jesus, eager to follow Him, and asked Him how one gains eternal life, Jesus laid down the ground rules. "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." No metaphor. No skewed interpretation. Just...
Sell your possessions and give to the poor.
Then come, follow me.
I look at this elephant soft toy and wonder how many little ones shiver on a windy night like tonight, with nothing to comfort them. While I, a 19 year old, sleep with it every night.
I look at my wardrobe...I own two winter jackets, but the words of Dorothy Day echo in my head; "If you own two coats, one belongs to the poor."
Jesus was clear in his words. We cannot follow Him with all our stuff. The sheer weight of our crap, our materialism, our luggage, will weigh us down. We are called to pick up our cross and follow Him, and we simply cannot hold both the cross, and our Louis Vuitton luggage set.
When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to spread the good news, he said to them "Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."
The Kingdom. A new kingdom. An ancient kingdom. It not only awaits us, but it welcomes us and yearns for us. And we are called to bring this kingdom to earth, as is in heaven. This kingdom is community and love. Hospitality, manaakitanga. Peace, simplicity, sacrificial. The complete opposite of this world, where what we own or what we do or who we associate with or what we wear, defines our worth. There is no room for stuff, if we are to come, and follow Christ. There is no room for materialism, consumerism, fake smiles and pretty masks. Because at the foot of the cross, where the light shines upon the darkness, we are illuminated, wretched and beautiful, and we are whispered to, softly...come, follow me. When our own mess is revealed in that light, how can we look upon the mess of our brothers and sisters with self-righteous sneers? At the foot of the cross, we are equal, we are whanau. That is where true community is experienced. Sell all your possessions and give to the poor. Then come, follow me.
Is that really so difficult?