Over matched Wrestling.
When I was in middle school I signed up for wrestling. My neighbor was the head coach. He was quite the motivational presence in my life so despite the fact that I was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 80 pounds I felt I was destined for greatness.
I was horrible.
Everything was practiced with partners and mine was always brutal. It seemed like everybody was stronger than me and everybody was faster. Bloody noses and skinned knees is all I really remember from my wrestling career. But, I am thankful for the experience and the invitation to compete. I am thankful for the interaction and the seeds of some friendships which last still today.
Ahhhhhhhh middle school pubescence…what a joy.
I am reminded of this memory when I read today’s gospel. Mark 3 is a brilliant social commentary on some pretty wild healing going on in the Jesus narrative. Demons are leaving people and healing is abound. And then Jesus drops the line mentioned above. So classic.
Here is the deal. What strong man are you engaging? What obstacle is clearly in your way to becoming a servant of the Holy Spirit? Everything you do and think is a gift and every time you mess up you can be forgiven, but are you really engaging the activity or are you just standing on the sideline and critiquing the game?
This is what I am getting at…the passage ends with, “Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” You go Jesus…tell it like it is!
This means we don’t get to doubt his methods. We don’t get to sit back and expect an equal share in the glory of God’s plan. The Holy Spirit is unpredictable. It is water and fire. It is wind and silence. We are invited. We respond. We engage. Or, we don’t.
There is a strong man, so to speak, in everybody’s life that limits their confidence and willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to truly dominate their actions. Christ’s advice is to tie him up, shut him down, and get after what is really the Lord’s to begin with. Oh, and trust that the outcome is driven by the force of creation and the breath of the God of the universe.
Nobody likes wrestling their demons. Very few people enjoy spiritual humility and complete surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, over and over again, Christ reveals the advocate as his most precious gift.
Try praying, “…come Holy Spirit…,” and then try not to manage what happens next. May you find peace in the Lord and a call to action on his behalf. And may to drop the strong man with a sweeping leg kick and get after the work of the kingdom.