Good morning, Mini-Women! Just as some people did yesterday at the end of the (U.S.) Memorial Day weekend, we're leaving the beach. Only we're not going back to school or getting back to the lives we lived before. We're following Jesus up a mountain, near Galilee ...
On the way up the steep hill, we murmur among ourselves. Jesus said he'll be leaving us soon to go back up to heaven with God. We're climbing a mountain -- UP -- so is this it? Do we only have a few more hours with him? Or maybe not even that long?
Finally Jesus stops, close to the top of the mountain, and gives us a chance to catch our breath. Some of us drain our water bottles. Others sit on rocks. When we're all settled, Jesus begins to speak.
"I know you have a lot of questions," he says.
"You wonder what you'll do if God asks you to do something with your life that you hadn't planned on and maybe don't think you're good at."
Some of us nod.
"Not to worry," Jesus says. "God wants you to take joy in serving Him so your purpose will fit you perfectly."
We give a huge unanimous sigh.
"Some of you are struggling with comparing yourself to other people. It's hard not to, but come to me with that. Talk to me about it in prayer. I'll always be here to help you."
"Then you're not going away after all?" Not Shy says.
"I am leaving the earth," Jesus says. "But I will always be in you. Always. And because of that, nothing will be too hard for you." His look becomes deep. "Not even this ..."
He pauses and we know he's waiting for all of us to pay perfect attention. We do. Finally he says --
"Whatever purpose God gives you along the way, whatever personality he has already created in you, and no matter what is happening all around you, I am commissioning each of you ..." He stops. "Do you know what it means to be commissioned?"
"Like get orders?" someone says.
"Not only orders but power," Jesus says. "I am giving you the power to do something important with your whole lives, the entire way you live. And here it is ..."
We lean forward.
"I am giving you the power to make sure that everyone knows about me -- about the forgiveness and the love that I brought to this world from God. I want you to model the way of living that I've taught you. I want people to begin to believe in me because of you. I won't be here physically so you have to represent me. "
Somebody cries out, "I'm just a kid!"
"Then spread the Good News to other kids."
"By living the way I've taught you to," Jesus says. "By showing love and forgiveness and joy. And when you see that someone is interested, tell them about me and how I have changed your life."
As we think about that, we're both kind of excited and kind of ... afraid. Other kids don't like to be preached at and told they're doing the wrong thing --
"Is that the way I've taught you?" Jesus says, his voice firm. "I never preached at you and told you that you were bad, did I?"
Come to think of it, no. He never has.
"I have loved you. I have answered your questions. I have forgiven you. I have brought you a lot of joy. I have gently corrected you when you were headed in the wrong direction." Jesus' voice gets softer. "The only time I have ever gotten angry is when 'religious' people have demanded that people do things that don't have anything to do with God and give God a bad name."
Yikes, he's right.
"I want you to bring the Good News of God's love and forgiveness to the world just like I have. One little life-thing at a time."
Jesus smiles at each of us and goes on to the very top of the mountain. We stay where we are so we can talk about all this -- and maybe pull out our Talking To God journals and write about it --
Who can I show love to that I really haven't before -- someone who needs it?
What one habit could I break because it keeps me from being a good representative of Jesus?
Who do I need to forgive in my heart?
One thing we know for sure: we have a job to do for God and it's going to take our whole lives to do it.
Blessings until Friday,