Humility and the kingdom

Published 9:54 am Friday, August 24, 2012

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. David Hemes, Retired from East Freeborn Lutheran Church

The kingdom of God is a strange entity. Impossible to define, or describe, or box in, or calculate.

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For example, in the kingdom, sometimes penny is bigger than a $20. Sometimes a child is greater than an adult. Sometimes weakness is strength. Sometimes losing is winning. Sometimes the only way to keep is to give away. Sometimes the only way to live is to die.

Go figure.

No wonder the sophisticated didn’t know what to do with Jesus. Jesus didn’t make sense. He left rational minds spinning in bewilderment. He exposed their book learning and rule keeping as worthless. They couldn’t corner him or match him. They felt, in his presence, their house-of-cards wobble in the winds of truth and reality and love. And they became defensive, afraid and jealous.

Many of the common folks saw and sensed the “tightness” of Jesus. Many of the elite could only resent him and begin to plan his exit.

Why? He didn’t come high and mighty. He didn’t come to overthrow their political enemies. He didn’t come to restore their nation to international power.

How did he come? He came as a common peasant. He came dressed wrong and acting wrong. He came hanging with the wrong folks. He came, not only saying that the kingdom was for all people, but living it.

In other words, the uppity didn’t want to change their doctrines and theology. They didn’t want to change their lifestyles of privilege and power. They didn’t want to see themselves as equal with sinners. They didn’t want to admit their spirituality was wrong.

And one of the hardest things for us humans to admit is being wrong. Who likes to eat crow? In front of others, or even in front of ourselves?

Our egos die hard. Jesus knew that. And so did Apostle Paul. And so does anyone who has done serious battle with false pride.

The door to the kingdom is not high that few may enter. The door is low, so that anyone may enter. And the threshold is humility, over which any can stumble. And, sadly, many do.

May we Christians then humble ourselves. May we let life itself humble us. And, most of all, may we learn humility from our Lord Jesus.