The Beanstalk Magic OR the Hope In Christ

Before palm sunday

This past week was one of the most important weeks in history for all who believe in the story of Jesus and subsequently the story of Christians. But first we have to believe in the person of Jesus and all that he was and came to be. Without the first premise nothing holds true. That is why the last week was so very important. We, the Christian church installed a pope as the head of the Roman Catholicism and then we installed an Archbishop as the head of the Anglicanism. 

Something significant happened in these two events. For the first time in 1000 years of history an Orthodox Patriarch came to sit with the rest of the world hoping for a brighter future. Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians brought a sign of possible reconciliation. And then the same events took place in England when Justin Welby was installed as the head of the church of England and of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the rest of the Christian and other religious groups gathered to embrace the commonness of humanity and the hope of togetherness. No matter who we are and where we are coming from the world is seeking reconciliation with God all the time as well as with one another. We are looking for leadership that will lead us to freedom.

We are hoping for the right people to birth among us.

“Palestinians Deserve a State, Israelites have the right to peace” These are the words of the American President in the Israeli and Palestinian soil just last week. Yet another hope of the people of God expressed by a president.

Is there a shortcut to such leadership?

We all know the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The young man who foolishly sells his cow for the magic beans, the young boy who steals the money that does not belong to him, and the boy who finally kills the giant is eulogized as a hero. There is nothing heroic about being foolish, stealing and killing. Is there? But our folklores have taught us that sometimes that is what it takes to succeed in life and change the future for the better and we say they lived happily ever after.

There is a new movie that is out two days ago and now playing in Theaters. “Jack the Giant Slayer”. It tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost , forcing the young man, Jack into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend-and gets the chance to become a legend himself.

We all want to find such legends that will change the course of our lives. The people of Israel hoped for such a legend in Jesus. The people of Israel were looking for a savior who will save them from the tyranny of the Romans. They wanted someone to help them get out of the rule of the Romans. The giants who wanted to destroy them was the Romans and they are looking for a savior and Jesus was born and he started what it looked like a powerful trickster who can just say “adios” to the Romans.

What is the model of Leadership according to Jesus?

The world of Jesus expected him to become the Jack for them and bring about a magical change. We too want God to solve our problems, as we perceive them, in the way we think is the best. We want Jesus to be the champion of our causes, whatever they may be. We want God to take our side in every conflict, from family squabbles to international politics. And when things don’t go our way, we are quick to conclude that God or Jesus has let us down. And there is the reason for us to abandon him to the cross.

But the Palm Sunday story should remind us that this is not how it works. Jesus will not simply step in to champion our causes anymore than he would champion the cause of Jewish independence two thousand years ago. Jesus on a donkey’s back was a sign and we ought to take heed. Jesus is not interested in our agenda; Jesus has his own agenda.

Judas must have been frustrated to no limits as he watched Jesus ride into town on the top of a donkey. He was hoping for him to come on a horseback like a prince who comes to liberate his subjects. He had grate hopes for Jesus and he shattered them all. Judas believed in Jesus. He believed he was the Messiah and not the donkey riding helpless and calm man who can not even defend himself. He wanted Jesus the Messiah to rise up and make hopes and dreams come alive, liberate the oppressed people.

“How like Judas are we when God does not enter into our daily lives to conquer our oppressors: the corporation heads that wipe out jobs for the bottom line, for the guy who just cut us off on the expressway; for the boss who refuses to give us a raise, the list goes on and on for each of us”.

We are going to be deeply frustrated if we wait for the pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury to bring about the change we are hoping for. It starts with a leadership that we imitate in Jesus. What was his style of leadership?

1. Do not trade your gifts for magical beans, tricks and momentary satisfactions.

2. The problems in life can be faced only by humility and not pride of any kind. Leadership is a time to serve and not be served.

3. In your greatness celebrate your humanity with all its beauty but recognize its limitations allowing God handle it.

4. Just because we believe in God does not mean, we will have no suffering or pain. But believe there is a resurrection no matter how we got through it.

So here is the little gem to hold on to in daily practice.

“Great tranquility of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame.” “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” Leave the rest into the hands of God.

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