Mt8v1-2 As Jesus teaches us to pray, we should? Might? Can? Pray this way.. Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean. What are you willing? How do we pray bold, measurable, hedonistic prayers, with a submission, humility & seeking? Please, Jesus, show me how to do this, I need to know. What do you will? Thinking about connecting with praying-for-a-husband & this thing we're meditating on esp. in this season of serving single friends in how-to-pray for this great ache.
Mt8v3-4 Touched him. “Touch it. / Shove that thing in my face and them fangs are going up in your tits. Move it from me. Grow up. Could be diseased, you get me? I don't want no chlamydia..” If you have seen Attack the Block, you will know that the concept of 'unclean' is alive and kicking today in south London. Jesus touched him. Jesus touched him. This Kingdom is attended by a haptic tactile mode of love. The ministry of laying on hands wars against all petty quarantines, all demographic exclusion, all modernist preciousness about isolated platonic solids, all Islamic devotion to hygienic hands, all Foucaultian heterotopias, lock hospitals, panopticons. Jesus touched him. Jesus is the white handkerchief that, when dropped in the ditch, far from becoming polluted, rather turns the ditch clean. The goodness of God at the centre of the universe is an active force. He is there and he is not silent, not passive, not static. Jesus touched him.
Mt8v5-6 Modes of prayer continued: appeal, in the form of presenting the facts to Jesus, with compassionate implication. There is not 'please can you..' here, but it is prayer, no? Let us not overcomplicate prayer in this specific time of seeking how to pray. It is right and good to come as children, sometimes with a simple 'it hurts'. Prayer is the simplest thing as well as the deepest. We appeal, Lord, our friend R is broken-hearted and suffering terribly.
Mt8v7-8 'I will come..' Jesus dignifies Place in expressing this, as in Advent, God with us, within us, among us, along side us, in the city and country, present to the paralysed, the locked out, the locked up, the voiceless, the unclean, the outsiders, the weak, the heartbroken.. God wills to come to you. .. 'not.. under my roof' This is Dn3v18's but-if-not expression of faith applied to space and Place. The profitability and efficacy of prayer are not dependent on location, performance, experiential manifestations, length of pilgrimage, proximity to historical nodes of so-called spiritual significance, if God is come and coming and willing to move in power, and even more so if his all-present word already fills all things. This is Wimber's being naturally supernatural, all places have the potential to be sacred spaces, even rendered so at a distance by prayer and text messages? Only. Say. The. Word.
Mt8v9-10 The authority of Jesus. Reading today about the Lacanian account of authority,which comes with the-name-of-the-father, this point of influence & law-making to which we are subject, the infant's discovery that she is not omnipotent, there is a causal power at work which must be accepted. To refuse this authority is to cling to paranoia, delusion, structuring the mind towards psychosis. To refuse Jesus' authority is spiritual psychosis. This authority comes as a threat & a relief. Surrender. Authority is not neutral or peripheral, the way we respond determines the form as well as the content of our minds. Our relationship to authority structures our minds. Our relationship to authority structures our subjectivity. See: Jesus is the name-of-the-father.
Mt8v11-12 is Lm4v6 Mt10v15. Tenses. 'will be..will be' When? What contiguity, what trajectory now-to-not-yet, and what of semiotics and the meaning of 'hell' now, what of consequences, what of the gates to hell then? You weep and I'll gnash teeth, in our now and not-yet of non-faith not seeking to Rv22v4 see his face now, in not praying the healing of paralysed friends now. .. There is a darkness acute to the children of the kingdom, sons of Christian parents, who are uniquely able to hold tenets of the gospel in contempt by familiarity, that is, by generations, but for a miracle, our grasp of the gospel degenerates from believing, to assuming, to rejecting. Throwing the baby of this Advent out with the bathwater of church pain. .. Pacifists note, the Jesus who ate with prostitutes, hung with centurions also, commending with these scarily strong words the soldier's essentially military understanding of authority.
Mt8v13-14 'go home'.. 'Jesus went to Peter's home'. Jesus did not have contempt for the home, even when he Mt19v29 asks us to leave home, he presupposes its necessity & value. Home is where we start from. Home is where we first meet v14 brokenness, & home is v13 where we can first witness the miraculous. In this way people get swept up in this Jesus mystery. Please, God, unabstractly, we want this for our home, we want this for our children, show us how.
Mt8v15-16 v3 He touched him v15 he touched her.. Jesus' hands-on haptic tactile mode of ministry bears reiteration. We're embodied to embody Kingdom intersubjectivity bodily. So free hugs, so the holding of holding&containing, so the limits of mediated ministry. While we are not saved by phenomenology, we see Jesus saves phenomenologically. Loving thus is no mere touching metaphor. .. Interesting the knock-on: '..to serve him.': my present feverlessness is purposed for such service, all of life is a gift of opportunity to serve in grateful overflow. Who are the 'they' of '..they brought to him many..': am I, do I? So this season of prayerfulness should seek *rightly motivated* to bring *many* sick to him in prayer. .. '..with a word.': for all I fear about technique and vocabulary, this is freeing, for surely if healing power can be reduced to one sufficient word, it cannot be other than 'Jesus' and I know him.
Mt8v17-18 Jesus heals for healing's sake & to fulfil prophecy. Ends in themselves & means to an end. I am quick to universally make these mutually exclusive, as often they are, but not always. There is a pointing-to-something-more which does not use people to make a point. This is no the utility which, taken to its logical conclusion, becomes empty & meaningless. There is a pointing-to which fills the depth of a for-its-own-sake & overflows to coherence or prophecy or narrative, which adds-to & multiplies, rather than reduces. Pray that Christ would make me wise, would break down my own resistances to stories-to-tell, for this reason.
Mt8v19-20 (1) The limits of Christian hospitality (2) The limits of Christian homelessness. (1) By contrast to my house's efforts to engender authentic discipleship by hospitality, Jesus challenges the authenticity of this scribes discipleship by inhospitality. I am not just playing with words, this is the rice-Christian dilemma, again. Healing may come by home comforts, but authentic individuation and your faith's coming-of-age necessarily come from the homeless wilderness. If we are not to perpetuate perpetually enwombed Christians by our offering home, should our come-and-see hospitality Ps34v8 now also be offered with a go-and-die inhospitality Lk9v23? (2) If you evoke this verse as a broadside against Driscoll's advocacy of home-ownership, you war against all architecture. Jesus was a couchsurfer Mt10v11 but only because there were people first choosing to give a hint of Jn14v2's sign signified.
Mt8v21-22 Let me just, Lord. Let me just finish this thought, habit, way of life, this middle class comfort. Let me stay with this death a little longer. But don't really, Lord, don't let me stay here, allow me to become distasteful to myself where I am become this way.. This is the mandate that permeates all our conversations about community & counterculture for the next season: 'follow me follow me follow me' .. Let this surrender be your highest.
Mt8v23-24 Jesus slept. And this was no Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht. Jesus slept (in heavenly peace). Sleeping, like sabbathing, is an act of faith in the sovereignty of God. Jesus slept (like a Calvinist). This is a word to me, as Octavia Hill's life is teaching me: Christians concerned for the state of housing in London beware, she burnt out and had to take three years away to sleep it off. Jesus slept (when there was work to be done). God gives sleep to the ones He loves Ps127v2. Jesus slept (belovedly). Picture Philippe Petit laid down on his wire, so Jesus is so staggeringly bold, daring naps in the maelstrom of ministry, being in the face of death, as the god of the air huffs and puffs, on the brink of the void, in a tiny vessel, sailing close to the wind, in all maritime analogies, against the terrors of the night, beyond the chemistry of insomnia, regardless the discomfort of a wooden berth. Jesus slept.
Mt8v25-26 Hard words Jesus says, he says them to me, as I shake him awake. Why are you so afraid? Why do you have so little faith? & yet Jesus is not being unkind. A knowingness to the words, perhaps. There is reason to be afraid, because the waves are big and the boat is small, I know. Yet. The deep-down smiling-in-your-belly come-what-may of knowing Jesus, this is the ground of every angelic don't-be-afraid. This essay anxiety planning woe will melt away before the joy of the holiness beheld in Christ. It is a kind of laughter, that undoes this anxiety. Jesus gently mocks us, because we are His beloved, and He has us. Also that he would say...I'm glad you woke me up, dear hearts, although you are faithless and foolish, I'm glad you woke me up, that I can expose myself to you. Here I am, I'm glad you woke me up.
Mt8v27-28 v27 Jesus has total authority over the chaotic, violent and apparently impersonal, science of meteorology (but what does it mean for a storm cloud to hear and respond to a command, do those electrons have ears?!) v28-34 Jesus has total authority over the chaotic, violent and more apparently personal enemies manifest in the realm of demons. What are demons? When do you invoke 'demon'? There is a 1Cor12v10 gap in my spiritual experience, discernment and vocabulary, and I would love my handful of textees to help me. It is too easy to define one's theology of demons against a hyperventilating pentecostalism and so settle for a naive naturalising of 'demonic' to mere metaphor for misfortune or mental health issues. If there is an active personal occult evil at work in the world, where are the limits of our diagnosing the demonic? And how can I helpfully engage this understanding? I say this as there are architectures which resemble the Gadarene demoniac: in being unclothed Lk8v27, preoccupied with tombs by dead architects, the shells of former life Mt8v28 (8v22) (Mt23v29), philosophically unshackled in the deconstruction of all law Mk5v4, self-harming in sociological injustices and in stylistically violent or wounded ways Mk5v5. So syllogistically demonic architecture? How might one exorcise such? .. Here we are, the darkest day of the year, the morning after the end of the world. These questions are slightly semantic, because ultimately Jesus, in these verses, demonstrates himself to be sovereign over the whole spectrum of fearful forces, literal, analogical, natural, supernatural, personal, apparently-impersonal, which seek to keep us from wholeness and progress in the gospel Ph1v12. He has us.
Mt8v29-30 'In every moment slumbers the possibility of being the eschatological moment. You must awaken it.' Bultmann, a fave. Jesus comes ahead of time, he sets the order & timetable for the universe, then violates both. Jesus is always breaking his own rules, a caution to both our arrogance & our apathy, our timidity & tamed temporality. He engages demons ahead of time, he heals & restores ahead of time.
Mt8v31-32 'A horrible conviction darted through Oak. With a sensation of bodily faintness he advanced: at one point the rails were broken through and there he saw the footprints of his ewes. Oak looked over the precipice. The ewes lay dead and dying at its foot - a heap of two hundred mangled carcasses.. .."Thank God I am not married: what would she have done in the poverty now coming upon me"' quoting Hardy to conjure a tragedy, cliff-related, albeit of a very different cause, so to consider the cost of exorcising idols, demons and unclean entanglements. .. Also struck by the character of demons: parasitic, possessive, dependent, desperately clinging consumingly to the real. .. Also struck by the implications of this power encounter: if evil is personal, it can be cast out, and it can be sent to die. You can be free, I can be free, in Jesus' name.
Mt8v33-34 You will hear stories told of this Christmas child, they should be terrifying, they should make part of us flinch, the impulse to beg him to leave as we Is9v2 have seen a great light, our darkness (1) does not Jn1v5 does not understand, nor v10 recognise him, (Doctor Who?) &so we beg him to leave, fearing the unknown, & (2) our darkness Jn3v19-20 hates the light, we hate the Christ child, who exposes us. But. The light overcomes the darkness. Rejoice!