34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 35 Look, your house is abandoned. I tell you, you won’t see me until the time comes when you say, Blessings on the one who comes in the Lord’s name.”
Luke 13:34-35 CEB
-Rev. Melissa Fain-
It was my favorite scene from Minority Report. John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, stole a pre-cog in order to prove his innocence. We discover, as the movie plays out, someone killed his son before the time of pre-cogs and he never discovered who. Hiding out in his son's old room at his old lakeside house, the pre-cog begins to tell the story of John's son, a story where he grew up and became a man. It wasn't real. It was a mirage. A beautiful story, but still just a story. John's son still died as a boy, and nothing could change that.
Recently I've noticed a growing trend among Christians. Either there is this nostalgia surrounding what could have been, or there is something disconnected about the planning. Big plans are made, and the end result is nothing. What went wrong?
Well, I can speak from experience, because I've been there. You get this call, and then something sneaks in: ideas. You start planning how it's going to turn out. You start envisioning some epic event. Perhaps, like me, you were starting a church or a worship event, and you expected to pack the house. Then no one shows up. (What I just described was my first launch and someone else's worship. Both had the same results.)
Basically, we begin to follow mirages. Oh they look so inviting, and the image looked like it could quench our spiritual thirst, but all that is waiting at the other side is more dry land.
How does this happen? Well, in the case of calls, we get impatient. God gives us a seed, and we began to imagine the possibilities. Then, instead of realizing we are just excited about what the seed could possibly turn into, we try to force it into our vision instead of waiting for God's timing. In the case of nostalgia, we fail to see how a call has died, and we try to follow a "pre-cog" false reality." It's beautiful to see what could have been, but it could never be, because the call is already dead.
I believe Jesus had them too. That's what we are hearing when we read him wanting to gather the people like a hen gather's her chicks. That's a beautiful picture of reconciliation. I too, wish it were real. It wasn't. The living call of Jesus was to prepare Disciples to become Apostles after his death. If he had lived into the mirage of reconciliation, the Disciples wouldn't have been prepared to rise up after Jesus was gone, and the death of Jesus would have still happened.
What's the point? We, and that includes me, has to let go and trust God. There was a time I had this grand vision, but it was my vision. I filled in gaps where all I was called to do was wait. I followed the mirage, when I was supposed to be following the call. That's a tough lesson to learn, especially when you get to the mirage and find there is nothing there. All one can do is pick up the pieces and start going in the right direction again. Oh, and don't be discouraged at reaching a mirage. If even Christ saw them, we shouldn't be dismayed that we followed one for a short period. Our purpose at that point is simply to get back on track. We can't change what has happened, but we have power and action now. It's our job to be the best we can within our fallen state. Forgive yourself, as God forgives you, and move on.