Claim on Jesus

It has been said: Our weakness is our only claim on Jesus. “Come to me,
you who are weary. . . . For my yoke is light” (Mt. 11:28, 30).

“Aha!” you say. “Just as I suspected. What God really wants is to keep
us subservient and dependent! On our knees, rather than on our own
two feet. This religion business is nothing more than a form of social
control—with leaders, pretending to speak for God, slyly bolstering
their own exploiting power.”

If that were true, I would say: This “Master” must die if we are to find
our freedom. This “God” is nothing but a pimp and his disciples are
but hustlers.

But something else is at stake—something so subtle that it cannot be
said directly but only ironically.

Rather than slavery, this “weakness” is the key to freedom,
       to strength,
       to security and
       to maturity.
Acknowledging weakness means abandoning self-absorbed life:
•being full of ourselves is what makes prodigals of us all;
       •service to the god of maximum return is what perpetuates poverty;
       •confidence in the redemptive power of violence is what authorizes
           the gods of vengeance;
       •obsession with security is the engine of enmity and the impetus
           to impotence.

Confession is arduous and inconvenient precisely because we must
first grow “weary” of these illusions of power. Exhaustion ushers us to
the door of weakness and weariness—and, for those with eyes to see, a
Way opens to deliverance.

        It was said of Jesus that he relinquished privilege, embraced
weakness, took the form of a servant—all for the sake of restoring
God’s Beloved Community (cf. Phil. 2:6-8). To be a follower of Jesus
is to enter the same drama. Such weakness includes:
       •the choice of suffering love over violent justice;
       •the commitment to sustained presence among the abandoned
           and the abused;
       •the willingness to learn how to love enemies, however close at
           hand or far away;
       •the redemptive embrace of the whole created order.

So let us enter this confessional with weary boldness. We confess
our wanton ways, our prodigal journeys.

In your extravagant welcome, Christ have mercy.

We confess our timid and passionless pursuit of your Promise.

In your extravagant welcome, Christ have mercy.

Merciful Mother, Forgiving Father, make us brothers of compassion
and sisters of grace.

In your extravagant welcome, Christ have mercy.
Pardon our wandering feet and our wanton hearts.

In your extravagant welcome, restore us to your Redemptive Home,
to your Refreshing Presence, and to our reconciling mission. Forgive,
that we may be forgivers.

©Ken Sehested @ Inspired by the story of the “prodigal son,” Luke 15:11-32.