Monday, 21 March 2011


Tantalizing! Frustrating! Exasperating! My efforts to thread a strand of wool through the eye of a needle. Many a kindly, pitying person would volunteer, "Why bother? Why waste your time? Let me do it for you."

Why can't people understand my major concern is not that I need a threaded needle. It means so much to me that I, with my poor vision, should prove to myself that I am still able to thread a needle. It may take time. Who cares? I don't! Believe me, the accomplishment, if ever, makes it worthwhile.

I'm rather like the infant who insists on being allowed to climb into a chair rather than have some well-meaning adult lift him up there. So far I haven't reverted to screaming if I don't get my own way! Truth is, it takes all my will-power not to do so! I quietly submit with inwardly fuming gratitude. Poor me! I've been denied my moment of triumph! The ecstasy of threading that needle -all by myself.

My ambitions are modest. They have to do with what was once possible and might still be. They include the striving to extend my capabilities. Others go further than this. At the 2012 Olympics they will seek to break records. But no one will aim to run a one-minute mile! That would be fantastic, unreal -as futile as chasing after a streak of lightning!

And yet it seems Jesus was being wantonly absurd when He compared the prospects of a rich man entering the Kingdom of Heaven to those of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. In other words, by using such an example He made it clear there was no way such a person could work his way through the Pearly Gates. Jesus was forcing His disciples, and now you and me, to ask what must be done to guarantee entry. Or is heaven the 'pie in the sky' that will never be eaten? The tantalizing, impossible dream?

Who's to blame the disciples for being astonished when they heard this and asked, "Who can be saved, then?" And that's the point! Jesus is enabling us to make a quantum leap into the supernatural ...way beyond the normal capacities that flow from within our human nature.
"Jesus gazed at them, 'By human resources,' He told them, 'this is impossible; for God everything is possible,'"
(Matt. 19. 25-6).

Jesus calls us, empowers us to live heroic lives with Christ-like compassion, which generously forgives those who have wronged us. He enables ordinary people like you and me to be willing to endure appalling torture, even suffering martyrdom, rather than deny and betray our commitment to Him.

'Gift, Favour, Privilege, Grace.' All these words describe the wonder of wonders that God should long for us to be willing to receive Him into our lives, and for us to allow ourselves to be drawn into His life, as His beloved children. All this is prompted by love that is merciful, "It is proof of God's own love for us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners," (Rom. 5. 8).

This isn't about our achievements, or our deserts. It's about God's choosing to enter into a sublime relationship with us that not one of us could ever have dreamed of, aspired to or attained, no matter how hard we worked for it.

This is godswaymyway, and I am at my greatest if I allow it to happen.
Peter O.P.

In a fortnight Isidore will reflect on "False Impressions."

No comments:

Post a Comment