Now Jesus is heading to Jerusalem. He’s gone out to the margins and he’s lifted up the lowly and brought down the proud. It’s as though Jesus is like a giant arm, sweeping out as far as it can go to bring in and gather as many as possible from as far out as possible. Now he’s bringing them in. Jerusalem, the holy city, waits for him.
As he heads back he will continue to gather. Here ten lepers cry out for mercy, which is a way of asking for healing. Though Jesus is now heading to Jerusalem, he will not let his destination distract him from his mission along the way. I’m pretty sure this is far from the point of this passage, but when you read scripture, it’s important to go towards the places that go towards you. For me, I was struck by the fact that Jesus was “on his way to Jerusalem”, but also was fully aware of what’s happening in his midst here and now. I struggle with that tension, especially as a pastor and leader. I feel like I’m always fully right here, right now and loosing sight of where I’m going, or I’m fully focused on where I’m going at the expense of what’s happening right before me.
As a Christian public leader, I am responsible for the destination. I need to keep the destination always before us so that we do not stray from where we’re going. This happens in a lot in churches. We fall off the path to where we were going so much so that we can’t even remember where it was we were going. In this crazy, noisy, scattered world in which we live, I have a responsibility to keep us laser focused on our destination. But I also have to be fully present to what’s happening right here and right now. The people, needs, opportunities, and beauty right before me have the stuff of God in them.
Jesus’ ability to live in this tension inspires me. I need to learn it better. Rather than constantly letting one pull me over and then letting the other do so, which only leads a person bruised and dizzy, I need to find that place of balance that keeps me upward focused and at rest. Several years ago a friend of mine painted a picture of radio tower in this regard. The tension of the cables pulling equally is what keeps the radio tower standing tall and at rest. In order to be at rest, we have to live in the tension.