Who Is Jesus?
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’16Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ 17And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’
Lord, give us to courage and the understanding of who it means to say you are the Son of the living God.
“The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.”
― Joseph Campbell
There is a general pattern to the hero journey – the quest of the hero into unknown realms, the powers that he meets there and overcomes, the stages of his crisis of victory, and his return then, with some boon he has gained, for the founding of a city, religion, dynasty, or whatnot; or, on the other hand, his failure and destruction.
Where have all the heroes gone? Somehow it seems that there is a tremendous shortage of real life heroes in our world – the type of people who take risks for others, face danger, fight evil and most importantly, win! We yearn for someone or something to look up to and feel secure. The greatest motivator in the 21 st century is fear.
The most common headline tells us of the failure of some leader or celebrity who had brought hope to their followers. Perhaps that is the reason that Hollywood has a fascination with the “super hero,” hero’s so powerful that they can’t fall. Sadly, such people don’t exist. I truly wish they did. Life would be so much more pleasurable if we knew who to call for the challenges we face. Today it might be Green Lantern, tomorrow Spiderman, but at least we would have someone to call. Joseph, the mythologist, gives us a very good pattern for the journey of a hero.
Heroes are not born, but rather, they evolve. The journey of every hero indeed begins with a quest – a drive or vision that sends them out of their comfort zone. They are driven to be bigger, better, and at the same time, selfless and humble. Perhaps the reason we have a hero shortage is that we don’t value the things that make a hero. Our children are not taught to take risks, or to put others before themselves, rather they are taught to be cautious and self protecting. Campbell’s words give us a great pattern for a hero, and if we dare model them or teach them, the world could be a better place.
1 Corinthians 13:1, 11-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
When people get married because they think it’s a long-time love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity.
Prayer Starter — Lord help me to understand the meaning of love.
“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”
Clint Hill was the secret service agent who was charged with the protection of President Kennedy on the day of his assassination and the first to reach his car after he had been shot. For many years he lived with a sense of guilt because he was powerless to prevent that tragic event. The “what ifs” of November 22, 1963, were a source of great pain to him. All of us are nagged by life’s unanswered questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did I fail at that project? What could I have done to make a difference in a bad situation? These, and many others, keep us awake at night.
Joseph Campbell advises us to not bother our family and friends with volumes of questions, but to go forward with our lives with a sense of confident adventure. If we spend our lives trying to figure out everything we miss life. Jesus says, “Sufficient are the troubles of the day.” Imagine a life that is lived in the moment. Such a life is a life of faith and confidence in God. With it comes a belief in a God who loves us, cares for us and wishes the very best for our future.
Let us challenge ourselves to live life to the fullest with great expectation, and put aside the hesitation that keeps us from being all that God intends for us.
Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Letting go is by far one of the hardest things to do. All of us hold on so tightly to our belongings, our plans and our feelings as a matter of self-preservation. The world is full of uncertainty and disappointment, so we naturally hold on to our little bit of certainty and comfort. The mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” He has a very good and thought provoking suggestion in those words. Is it possible that we hold on to our vision so long and so diligently that we miss what God really has in store for us?
Life should be focused on the journey and not the destination, because the journey’s end is often too far away and too difficult. So much of life is missed because we cannot let go of some idea, some broken dream or hurt that tugs on us like a violent undertow of a raging sea. Life should be thought out, planned and lived a day at a time. God has told us in His wisdom that we have no guarantee of tomorrow, so today is the most important day of your life. A question arises now – How do we let go enough to live that day?
Letting go of the planned life and finding what is waiting for us means we must slow down and allow God to speak to and through us.
A few suggestions:
- Interact with people
- Eat a good meal
- Watch the sunrise/sunset
- Notice something that you had never noticed before
- Relish in the beauty of God’s creation
- Get lost in a book
- Write something
- Meet someone new
- Encourage someone with a call or a text
We all miss so much of the very best while trying to plan for the very best. Wander and ponder and be open to the astonishing life that God has laid out in front of those who let go of themselves.