Text: Luke 9:51-62
To keep your face set in the face of opposition
To pray for those who do not welcome you
For courage as you walk the Way
THE SWEDISH DIPLOMAT Dag Hammarskjold was only 48 when he was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1953. For the next several years the formerly mid-level economist and advisor distinguished himself with his deft diplomatic touch at a time when the various national powers seemed frequently on the brink of war.
After his death in a plane crash, his personal diary was published. In Swedish, the title literally means waymarks; it was a deeply personal account of one man’s struggle with following Jesus Christ in all of life’s circumstances. Hammarskjold wrote movingly of both his dismay and yet his growing trust in the Lord who had called to him to walk with his face toward Jerusalem, to give no thought for the morrow, to not look back.
One of the last entries in the diary, shortly before his death, contained the following:
…the only height available to [a person] lies in the depths of humiliation. After [I learned that], the word “courage” lost all meaning, since nothing could be taken from me.
As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every word in the Gospels stands one man and his experience. He stands behind the prayer that the Cup might pass from him; [he stands] behind the promise to drink it nonetheless. And behind each of the words from the Cross.
As we walk this Way, do not be fooled as to where the true danger lies! We want to believe that our foes, our saboteurs, our stumbling blocks, our obstacles are out there, in the world. But Jesus will not let us remain fools: one of the Markers of the Way is to discover that the deadliest obstacle to joining Jesus on the way to Jerusalem lies within each of us. To be rid of that foe means humiliation, but to finally be free from the grasp of our own faithlessness is to discover the power of the One True Man who stands behind all his promises, and be made true ourselves.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks