Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Gate - John 10

I am the gate. When I was at a Young Life Christian camp in the Rockies at the age of 18, a pastor/mentor posed a question to our group. What percentage of life are you living? In other words, if you were saying you lived life to a certain percentage, what would that percentage be? I was like, What are you talking about man? How do you live life at a certain percentage? Am I living life at 70%? 90%? Do I want to live it at 100%? The idea kind of sticks. If I ask any of you, do you want to live life to the fullest, how would you respond? Do you want every moment to be fulfilled, enjoyable, gratifying? Maybe not every single moment, but at least a high percentage of the moments we experience.

I mean where are you right now, in this moment. Here I am, up here preaching. There you are sitting there; surrounded by people you know or you don't know.... Maybe you're wondering at this why did I get up out of bed and come to church again? Or maybe you're thinking, I can't wait to get into that kimchi! Or, I wish I could go to Maui to officiate a friend's wedding like Chester and Trasie are doing next week. Yes, we will be gone... Whatever your thinking right now, maybe you can let those thoughts go and just be present in the moment. When Jesus talks here in John, he paints this scenario about sheep, and gates, and gatekeepers, and shepherds, and thieves and bandits. All kinds of interesting Characters! And the church has spent many years trying to figure out what wooly image he's trying to paint. Jesus says, I am the Gate! Twice. So who are the thieves and bandits, who is the shepherd, who are the sheep, who is the gatekeeper. It can really get quite confusing. But, as I was in bible study discussing these curious things with Marilyn, who to me seems like a shepherd, and with Bruce, who is kind of like a gate keeper, but is the son and grandson of sheep herders on the reservation. We agreed to not get too caught up in these unclear metaphors. We know Jesus says he's the gate. Thieves come in to kill and destroy, and Jesus, the gate, came that they--the sheep may have life and have it in abundance. That's kind of like saying in the gate - you can live life pretty close to 100%. At least above 50%. But how? Belief in Jesus...well, i think most of us believe in Jesus...and while we may think that improves our quality of life, or the abundance we experience; there is no real way to measure how much one's believe in Jesus in contingent in abundance or quality. There are people...saints, who believe in Jesus but live in slums. There are people who really don't care much about Jesus at all, who live quite well according to worldly standards. What does it mean to live life, and to live it abundantly. And what do thieves and bandits have to do with it? As I sat there with these two wonderful people, Bruce said, well, there are a lot of things--ads and material possessions that compete for our time. And I have friends who aren't Christians who think that my faith limits my ability to experience life like going to parties or doing drugs; etc. And then we kind of had an aha moment. How much time do we spend escaping from the present moment? Again, where are you right now? Are you aware of your surroundings or has your mind tripped again... What will I do this afternoon? Who's winning the Rockies Game? Bathroom, bathroom I need to go .... at least the latter is pretty legit. But, the point is, how much of life, how much of our experiences, our getting up and our lying down, who much of our waking moments do we lose...because we are not present in those moments. We are there, physically, but we drift to a better job, a better life, a better tomorrow, or fade to a yester year long gone... We don't live in the moment, and we mis out on what percentage of life....20%? 50% I sat there with Bruce and Marilyn, and Zia was finishing up some tasks, her youngest boy Aaron was playing around on the floor. And I said to them, where else would I rather be, right now, than with you Marilyn, with you Bruce, with Zia here in the office. With Aaron playing on the floor. Those moments, each moment of our lives, doesn't last forever. They will fade away. But if I can remain present in each moment, I can experience life, and life in abundance. No thief of a daydream or fantasy can steal that away from me. No bandit of an advertisement or other mode of escape can rob me of this moment. Look around. Where are you? Who are you? Who are those around you? Live in this moment now. The Gate Jesus keeps us safe. The Gate Jesus gives us security. We don't have to worry about anything else, The Gate JEsus tells us we can be right here, right now. Watching the world around out wake up.  

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