New Authority

July 18, 2013

Donna Schaper

"Christ did not take on himself the glory of a high priest…." - Hebrews 5:5

Jesus is not a high Priest.  He is as good as a high priest but not the kind of high priest you think.  Jesus has authored a new kind of authority.

Farewell, Melchizidek.  Hello, Jesus. Thank you, Hebrews.  People then, like people now, got sufficiently fed up with the culture of insincerity that they decided to attend to the small and the quotidian.  They welcomed Jesus.  They paid attention to the lateral instead of the vertical. Instead of believing the robot when it said, "Your call is important to us," people realized it wasn't.  All the energy spent on wishing the core institutions weren't lying turned into energy creating new ones.  High priests were out of business.  Churches rejoiced in unemployed, deeply troubled spiritual seekers walking in their doors instead of more hits on their web sites; law firms happily adjudicated differences and forgot about "billing" "hours"; universities taught students.

Bill McKibben says, "When you are in a hole, stop digging."  Big power and big authority have failed human beings powerfully.  They always were too big not to fail. No one even believes in them anymore. As one pundit puts it, we are at peak b. s.

When big actions are beyond our capacity or mental reach, we can stop them on behalf of what we can do. We come up with new words, new theories, new authorities and new behaviors. We remember the true meaning of authority, which is the ability to control yourself, not others.  We forget about Melchizidek and remember Jesus.

Prayer

Jesus, you who reframed power and authority long ago, give us the down low on the high up.  Make us Authors of our own stories instead of best-selling tragedians trying to write a lucrative comedy. Amen.

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.
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