Advent Devotional, Nov. 29: “Broken for Good” by Matt Laney
Sometimes I think Jesus wouldn’t last two months in parish ministry before a congregational meeting was called to dismiss him. His words above are a case in point.
The King James Bible is even more graphic: “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” What’s Jesus talking about? Why is he dumping this harsh, bah-humbug rhetoric into our holiday season? Is this good news?
Yes, very good news.
Most likely, the crushing stone is an allusion to Daniel. After his famous sleepover in the lions’ den, Daniel had a vision about God hurling a boulder to level the power hungry kingdoms of earth and prepare the way for God’s everlasting reign of peace. Since Jesus wasn’t literally a cornerstone, he’s most likely speaking in metaphors. It’s a lesson about who’s in charge.
You are probably better at this than me, but I don’t easily surrender to God. I prefer to rule over a little kingdom called “my life” and treat God like a consultant or advisor when I’m out of ideas or at the end of my rope. I often have to be knocked down and broken to pieces, or blown away by God’s astounding love (same thing really) before I will hand over the reins and allow God to reign.
A few short decades after Jesus, Paul said our old self must be “crucified” so that Christ might reign in us. By my lights, there is little difference between crucifixion of the ego or being hit with a big holy rock . . . or God sneaking into the world as a baby to “bring down the powerful from their thrones” (Luke 1:52). It’s all good news.
United Church of Christ Stillspeaking Devotional Published by Pilgrim Press. Shared with permission of the publisher.