By: Natalie Plumb
The word “risk” says more than meets the eye. A “risk” insinuates that the action will take your time, attention and energy. A “risk” says taking a chance. A “risk” means making a leap from the expected or conventional.
The “risk” in “Risk Jesus,” the diocesan conference that has perhaps recently popped up on your computer screens, inboxes and in your parish bulletins, is there for all of those reasons, and more. This risk means that Jesus wants all of you. This risk means danger to our comfort zones. This risk asks for all of us, not just part of us. This risk tells us that Christianity is a leap, and something that – if true – should be pursued with intense vigor, as if “run[ning] with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Because the truth that comes when you take this risk will set you free.
When you say something truthful to a friend, and it’s hard for him or her to hear so he or she never treats you the same…
When you call out injustice, and those involved begin to treat you as an outsider…
When you refuse to conform to the conventional norm because you know it’s sinful, and you are badgered or teased by friends and family…
There’s nothing quite like it. And any word to describe it wouldn’t seem to sum up its effect on your heart, and do it justice. We can try to name its antithesis – possibly righteousness or integrity or dignity…or even closure. These are pains we experience ourselves. But these are Jesus’ pains every day, too. They are the pains we ourselves give Him. Daily.
As humans, we crave for things to come full circle. We hope that what we give to the world – but only the good stuff – comes back to us. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. And Jesus never said it was. We are, in reality, deserving of absolutely nothing. We are “dust,” and were so named from the very beginning, in Genesis.
The Golden Rule is not, in fact, do unto others as they do unto you. The amazing proclamation of Christ is beautiful in that it says: Even when they persecute you, love them. Risk loving them. The Beatitudes proclaim just the opposite of what society today tells us: Blessed are those who have trials and tribulations, pains and afflictions, for later shall be their reward. In heaven shall they find their solace.
Jesus never said He would always grant us closure.
Jesus never said He would always convert the hearts of those who persecute us for doing good.
Jesus never said He would reward us greatly on earth.
But He did say He would be there. Always. That may not provide closure or reward or solace to you in all of your circumstances, even the most nitty gritty and ugly parts of your life. But maybe, just maybe, it will remind you to risk turning to Him, in all things.
Natalie writes on Thursdays about faith, dating, relationships, and the in between. May her non-fiction stories and scenarios challenge you. May they help you laugh, cry, think and wonder.