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Entries in Right time (2)

Meditation: The Right Time is . . . When?

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" ~ Mark 1: 14–15
 
Who can live in the timing of God? It’s one thing to agree with God’s viewpoint intellectually; it’s quite another to express our agreement in concrete action. Jesus modeled agreement with the Father by doing God’s will in perilous times. In simple, direct language Mark’s gospel reveals that Jesus launched his ministry at the very time that the Kingdom message could get you thrown into jail.
 
In an atmosphere of resistance and oppression Jesus decided that the time was right to proclaim good news. Herod, a puppet-king of the powerful Roman Empire, had jailed John the Baptist because John’s preaching had threatened the status quo. Human wisdom would have suggested that Jesus keep things on the down-low until passions had cooled. You can almost hear the counsel of the worldly-wise in Jesus’ day: “Wait just a little while,” they might advise. “Let the rich and powerful turn their attention away from preachers in the countryside.”
 
Instead, Jesus modeled a ministry directed by the Spirit. In a world overrun by a pagan power, in a world rife with political scheming and considerations, in a world where caution was the order of the day, Jesus boldly declared that good news, the best news, was within reach. What kind of person tells suffering, mourning captives that freedom is within their reach? The source of his good news had nothing to do with the powers of the age and everything to do with the in-breaking of God’s time into their time.
 
It’s only natural to look for the “best time” to engage in ministry: wait until the economy is stronger; until the political climate is warmer; until the streets are safer, until your children are older, until your savings account is fatter. Wait. Jesus had a different schedule. He said simply, “The time has come.” He took into consideration only one factor: God’s Kingdom was at hand. The Kingdom of God does not wait on the future because the Kingdom is breaking into the present. God’s Kingdom was beginning to invade the kingdoms of the earth, and if God was on the move, how could Jesus remain still? It's still true today, and we are called to imitate his example. If God is on the move, how can we remain still?
 
Jesus is serving the best wine now because he dwells in the now. “The time has come” each day. Since Jesus inaugurated the in-breaking of the Kingdom, every day with God presents opportunities to announce and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. The only important question is whether we know what time it is.

Meditation: God's Right Time, and Ours

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5: 6 – 8)

Sometimes the little words slip past us: water through our fingers. Have you ever noticed these words: “at just the right time.” They reveal the Father’s idea of the right time is radically different from ours.

These three Spirit-inspired verses from Paul’s letter show us that God’s view of the right time is when we were powerless. Even if we had wanted to return to the Creator, we were unable.

The whole world had rebelled against God. His voice had gone out to all nations and through all generations, calling us home. The Creator never stopped extending the invitation to return. He revealed himself in every morning mist, and in the cloud of stars we call the Milky Way. To each generation he sent visionaries and poets, describing the beauty of life lived in harmony with the Creator. But we would have none of it. We were unwilling, and unable, to see or hear.

The lesson for disciples is not simply that God is gracious (though he is). Nor is it that he accomplishes redemption when we cannot (he does). His lesson is that the right time to act is when others cannot. In doing so he has set an example for us to follow. How often do we wait for others to meet us halfway?

It seems so logical: those who need help should provide a “show of good faith.” But when we believe this logic we walk away from people in need—materially, emotionally, spiritually—because we think we aren’t they aren’t interested in helping themselves. The Father required no show of good faith: why do we?

One of the lessons of the gospel is that God acted first, without any guarantee his extravagant love would be received. He risked rejection because action had to be taken. This week’s meditation asks if we have the heart to do the same.