Don't Go There
June 22, 2012
"When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, 'What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'"
Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson
As his life and ministry drew to conclusion Paul was determined (like Jesus before him) to go to Jerusalem—even though doing so meant danger and possible death.
Every now and then I meet someone who is intent on going where they feel they must, despite the risks involved. A doctor who goes to the Sudan regularly to perform surgery. A young woman who takes meals to shut-ins in a dangerous part of town. A chaplain who goes week by week into a high-security prison where no one feels safe. A pastor who walks into an angry crowd to listen and to speak.
They go, despite warnings, despite danger. They go not just because they want to, but because somehow they must.
Sometimes we imagine that God's chief duty and central concern is our comfort and safety. We think that what God cares most about is our happiness and health. Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Maybe what God cares most about isn't our comfort and safety, but about the height and the depth, the range and the reach, of our lives.
It occurs to me that the heavenly host may well have counseled God "don't go there." "Don't go to the world; or if you do go, don't — for sure — go as one of them, vulnerable to suffering, exposed to evil." But that is what God did in Jesus. He went there, he came here. And because he did, we can—you can—too.
You can go where it's hard to go, even where there is some danger. Go and God shall be with you.
Eternal God, you call us to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (A prayer of Martin Luther.)
Ms. Christina Villa
Minister for Resources and Communications
Publishing, Identity, and Communication
Local Church Ministries/Office of General Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.