Author: Chad Hyatt
Reflection: v. 15, ‘now is the time’
Now is always the time for liberation. But those in power never think so. And too often neither do we, if we’re really honest with ourselves—especially when unrighteous systems provide us some measure of stability and comfort. In the Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King describes his disappointment with white pastors he had hoped might grasp the urgency of the moment and join Black demonstrators in the struggle for racial justice. As always, a uniquely American prophet, he writes: ‘Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood [and sisterhood]. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.’ King says succinctly, ‘The time is always ripe to do right.’ That’s what Jesus is saying, too. And his words aren’t just a few more among many wise words Jesus spoke. Mark is here bringing together the essence of Jesus’ gospel preaching, the very ‘good news of God’ for human beings: ‘Now is the time, and the kingdom of God is at hand.’ Anything that is at hand is within our grasp, imminently accessible to all. And make no mistake, the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims is not to be confused—even for a fleeting moment—with any of the kingdoms of this world. Put more bluntly, the God of Jesus of Nazareth is not the god of the KKK. The God of Jesus isn’t the god of hate and fear and violence and war. Jesus shows—he embodies—through the places he goes, the folks he welcomes, the ways he heals, the systems he denounces, the hungry he breaks bread with—precisely who God is and what God’s kingdom is about. It’s far past time that we who say that we worship Jesus start to truly follow him—not just by the services we attend or the offerings we give, not just by the petitions we sign or the posts we share. We follow Jesus by living like he did in his days upon the earth, painting a vision of a new world with our own flesh and blood hands, doing the simple works of mercy that are always within our grasp. As always, now is the time.
Prayer O, God of Jesus, now is the time to lay hold of liberation.