Christianity 201

February 23, 2013

Jesus, The Holy Nomad

To start today, another section from Matt Litton’s book Holy Nomad, The Rugged Road to Joy (Abingdon).

Holy Nomad - Matt LittonReading the Gospels, I discovered that the Holy Nomad is not the least bit interested in the laws and doctrines of religion.  He is more radical than any philosophy of life.  He does not associate himself with a particular political agenda, a government, a race, or even a nationality.  He is not a hip cultural trend, and based on his violent reaction to people setting up storefronts in the temple, not cool with being presented as a business venture to be marketed and sold.  From the way he interacts with the sick and sinful it’s clear that the Holy Nomad is kind and compassionate, but, also obvious from his harsh words with the religious leaders… The Nomad is not safe.

The Gospel of John says that he was present at the dawn of time but broke into human history, climbed into human skin and walked around in it so that we could see and understand the true nature of God, his father.

In this Nomad we find the universe’s source of compassion, the essence of love, the loyal friend, the divine comforter.  In him we meet the intolerance of inequality, and the very power of freedom.  He is the Resurrection, the foundation of life and the leader of the most important invasion in the history of the universe – the invasion of light.

Witnessing the Nomad on the path of the Gospels, I am left believing he must be the source, the antidote for Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome, the one to bring us out of darkness.

But I also discovered again that there is urgency for us to respond to his call.  The gospel of Luke tells us a story of Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome.  It is a poignant scene where several men are asking Jesus what it means to follow:

On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.  Jesus was curt:  “Are you ready to rough it?  We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”

He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please.  I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”  Jesus refused.

“First things first.  Your business is life, not death.  And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”

Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”

Jesus said, “No procrastination.  No backward looks. You can’t  put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow.  Seize the day.”

“When once the call of God comes, ” wrote Oswald Chambers, “begin to go and never stop going.”  These words often remind me of my friend Craig.  They remind me of Jesus breathing on his followers as he sent them to their work.  I wonder how close the Nomad was in those moments and if we could see it – how he breathed on my friend to empower that first step from the cell of addiction.

Perhaps with each decision, every new step, we should take a fuller breath of God’s spirit – the sacred wind that powers our journeys.

For another excerpt from Matt’s book, click here.

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