The other day I described this passage in Luke 4.18-19 as Jesus’ mission statement:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Then this past weekend I read this in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, (p.148):
“I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.”
Pi’s attitude must be ours if we are going to advance Christ’s kingdom, which only comes by miracle and hard work. If our mission statement does not include the miraculous, not what is merely hard or a reach but what is impossible for us, what it describes is not worthy of Jesus and cannot advance his kingdom. Even our hard work must aim beyond us. It is not that we work as hard as we can and then God fills in the gaps. The power of God is not the mortar to our bricks. We specifically work hard to make room for the miraculous, to clear away the debris and distraction that keep people unaware of the divine trying to break into their lives. The kingdom comes where the miraculous and our hard work converge.
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