On Losing and Winning
We are T minus 2.5 weeks to the execution. The condemned has invited us to join him on death row and, on that day, he will have also invited us to die with him. These are days fraught with sobering realities.
If we look back we will remember that this is just as he promised it would be from nearly the beginning. “Come, follow me.”
Follow me in announcing a new way to be and live, follow me in steady pursuit of loving others, telling the truth, showing mercy, undoing evil’s grip. Follow me in saying “Yes” to the Father—in fair weather, when they say you can do no wrong, and in foul weather when they say the good you do is wrong—saying “Yes” even when the dearest in your life say “No!” and saying “Yes” even though in the saying of it you lose it all.
And why? Because he said “Yes;” because in the light of his word we understand that saying “No!’ to win or gain or advance leads to the loss of our very selves, and saying “Yes” at the risk of losing all leads to winning big-time.
In a recent book, novelist Ann Perry creates a story which is a kind of salvation myth. The heroine is a woman name Tathea. After having had to flee from her country, and to survive through many dangers, Tathea is now trying to decide whether to return to her homeland in order to try and save it from the creeping evil that has corrupted every level of life. She is most hesitant. All the more hesitant because she is not sure she will succeed. Her good friend Alexias says to Tathea:
“Remember, there is no middle ground. We are either for God or for Asmodeus (Satan). Either we are for the light, the beauty, the good, or we are for darkness, pain and bondage. There is no place between, only the illusion of it. And that too is the creation of the Enemy; the eternal lie that you can win without battle, reap without cost, triumph without courage or pain.”
Read again those last two sentences: There is no place between, only the illusion of it. And that too is the creation of the Enemy; the eternal lie that you can win without battle, reap without cost, triumph without courage or pain.” (Cited by Bruce Prewer in a sermon for March 12, 2006)
We’re doing time with Jesus on death row with 2.5 weeks to go.
We wait, we watch, we listen, we count the cost, and we say, “Yes!”