We don’t want a god who is never angry. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t care. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t love us so much that our pain is God’s pain, that our joy is God’s joy. A god who is never angry is not so connected to us and this whole creation that god would come and take on our flesh and blood to teach us and guide us and heal us and show us a whole new life. A god who is never angry would be an abstract, uncaring, unloving god. And that’s not the God who made us, and redeems us, and is with us wherever we go.
What Jesus is offering is not something that can be sold. It doesn’t have a great jingle. There’s no flashy sales pitch. Instead, it’s “Pick up your cross and deny yourself.” It’s “love your enemy and give your second cloak.” It’s “forgive 7 times 77 times” and look at the “log in your own eye before judging your neighbor.”
This isn’t the last time the disciples will be scared. This isn’t the last time they will question if they can make it. But each time, Christ reminds them they aren’t alone. Each time, Jesus tells them God will be there, whether it be the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And each time they will be strengthened and encouraged to go to a new place and tell the world about grace and new life.
This passage first reminds us that God is not limited to any sole place. We can’t keep the Creator of heaven and earth locked up inside these walls, because heaven and all of creation is God’s dwelling place. We can’t limit God to an hour a week on Sunday because wherever we go, just like the tabernacle in the wilderness, God will travel with us.
The church is meant to be a place of great welcome, where we can be our ridiculous selves and grow in God’s love. But too often we have been a place that has kept people out – people of different skin colors, people of different class and backgrounds, people with different sexual orientations, people with different gender identities. And in doing so, we have born false witness. We have turned the true God of dance and joy and song into a God of prejudice, fear, and hurt.
So often, we think that healing looks one particular way. But in the gospels, Jesus doesn’t make people fit themselves to a certain type before healing them. Instead, he fits the healing to the person.
Samuel remembers that the Lord is alive and at work and can do amazing things, even in those we judge by their cover. And then he says to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”
These words in Isaiah 6 say God is at work even in imperfect people, even in people who doubt themselves, in people who would never see themselves as worthy of a great calling on their own. These words from Isaiah say God’s power and glory and love are strong enough to live and move and breathe and do great and marvelous things through every one of us, even you and me.