April 17, 2011
Rev. Elizabeth Macaulay
“What Price Leadership?”
Danish Pastor and playwright named Kaj Munk drew the attention of the Gestapo during World War
ll. He was outspoken in his opposition to the persecution of the Jews in
He was executed by the Gestapo in January of 1944. His Bible was next to him, along with this writing:
“What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer “Faith, hope and love?” That sounds beautiful.
But I would say - courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature...we lack a holy rage - the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity.
ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie
rages across the face of the earth...a holy anger about the things that are
wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the
destruction of God’s world. To rage when little
children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food.
To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries.
To rage at the lies that calls the threat of death and the strategy of
destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek
that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it
conforms to the norms of the
And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish...
but never the chameleon.” (As found in Irresistible Revolution pg. 294)
Munk lived recklessly in his day. It got him killed.
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish carpenter. He was born in the poverty and stark want of a cow stall. He was raised in a home where the teachings of faith were more than words. They were ethical framework for living. He was baptized in the river Jordon and the heavens were torn apart and the words of God’s claiming were heard and he spent the next three years teaching and healing and praying and eating and saying things like:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Let your light shine!
Whatsoever you do unto the least of my people you do unto me.
Many who are first will end up last and the last first.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, ahypocrites! for ye pay btithe of mint and canise and cummin, and have domitted the weightier matters of the law, ejudgment, fmercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
taught and lived in ways that sparked hope and imaged the
And Jesus’ teachings shook the religious elite because he was calling them to live what they were only too happy to talk about. He challenged their authority.
And this reckless kind of belief that the teachings sprung from the heart of God were meant to be lived? That kind of recklessness got Jesus killed.
lest anyone miss the message that Jesus came to bring us to a total life
change, he rode into the city that epitomized power:
A donkey. Not a charger or stallion but the Son of David, the Messiah, rides through the gates of power on a donkey.
He was reckless enough to refuse to play power games.
He was reckless enough to refuse to collude with power.
He was reckless enough to believe that the heart of God held the answers to the ache of the world.
This entry into Holy Week is an invitation to us all to be present to the recklessness of Jesus the Christ. He knew well that opening hearts and souls to the message of God would create in people an unwillingness to go along any more.
He knew well that if people took into their beings the teachings of faith - the ones about caring for each and loving neighbor as self and trusting that God has provided enough for all if only and only if only hands and hearts would learn to open. He knew that he was preaching a re-ordering of a broken world and that such a re-ordering would turn privilege upside down and those in power never give it up easily and so they conspired to silence the reckless one.
What I ask of us each this Holy Week is this.
Be present to what is.
Be present to the ways that Jesus walks this world of ours yet and is crucified yet.
your heart to feel some rage that the
Know the story of your neighbor to be your own.
And hold fast, in the midst of your willingness to feel rage, these words from Mother Theresa, lest the rage threaten to overtake your sense of hope:
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love. It is not how much you do but how much love you put into doing it.”
Jesus rides through the gates of our heart every day we are given to live.
Let us welcome him in love.
Let us know our own human participation in the cries of “Hosanna” and “Crucify him”.
us choose to “restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to
change human history until it conforms to the norms of the
Let us do small things laced with love.