…with great patience

The signs of an apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, signs and wonders and mighty works (2 Cor. 12:12).

Not sure Paul was an easy person to live with, and of course there were times when he got things ‘wrong’. But he has such incredible insight, this verse included. The Corinthians were easily impressed so it would seem, this pushed Paul into some ‘foolishness’ where he said he could compete with anyone they suggested, recounting one of the times he went to the ‘third heaven’, here though I think he moves right away from foolishness as he puts two aspects together as indicating what marks out a true apostolic calling. The miraculous, those immediate and tangible changes with a before and an after, and the overriding context of ‘great patience’. Not one without the other. The combination presents a challenge.

Patience… seems to have a connection to trials, tribulations and even suffering. If we see following Jesus at the level of ticket to somewhere a lot of difficulties make no sense, for all we should expect is a good life with troubles truly far away from us… if however alignment with Jesus, incorporation into his destiny (predestination – all to do with being caught up into Jesus’ destiny) then we are part of the body that is in partnership with heaven to see the transformation of the world. Hence, my little context, and my little responses are so important for the future of the world. If I can respond to God with a ‘yes’ (which will necessitate at some point a ‘no’ at the human level) I am making a contribution to the future. It is as if my life is connected to someone else’s – and I might have no idea who they are – and as I pull for the future and wonder why the resistance is there and think what is wrong with me… I need my eyes opened – you are pulling more than you realise.

Patience. Oh yes. I am asking for another 500 years (not for me personally… my delusions do have limits) so that we contribute now to what is coming; that we begin to see not simply the collapse of so much (that is on the way already) but the seeds sown for the growth of something different.

These next couple of decades will see a different world all around us, with a level of issues that will feel overwhelming. At some point there will be a series of major catastrophes and the continual growth of the world population will decrease quite dramatically (I have been seeing this for the past 8 or so months). Huge issues… and (if I ever got myself another tattoo it would read:

Καὶ εἶδον οὐρανὸν καινὸν καὶ γῆν καινήν· 

For all you linguists out there… of course it reads… but more importantly for all of us who claim to follow the Lamb who went to the lowest point for the redemption of the world:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth (meaning ‘a whole new creation’).

My context has changed, my activity has changed, my priorities at a day to day level have changed… but some things can never change. This is where we are headed. Patience… John the author of Revelation introduces himself with

I, John, your brother who share with you the persecution and the kingdom and the endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

Endurance / patience (same word as Paul’s in 2 Cor. 12:12).

That is so evident… Visions, conflicts, catastrophes… endurance evidenced that he is still there saying ‘AND I saw…’

I am convinced there is a new apostolic mantle waiting to be embraced – not by this apostle or that one, but by a collective people. It is not that we have entered a new ‘magic’ era and suddenly there is a ‘new move of God’ it is far more that old ways are exhausted so there can be a new beginning. All moves of God are from the past – a cross and an empty tomb – and from the future – a new creation.

I guess the jury is out, hence I am not looking personally for another 500 years, but am very focused on these next 16 or so years. And into this, indeed, signs, wonders and miracles.

Much more to be said!!

2 thoughts on “…with great patience

  1. Nailed it Martin. This is what we must do. Wait. Endure. Work collectively toward the new creation. And that is more than shifted and transformed ecologies. It includes cultures, communities, cities. It includes how we care for one another in a changed world.

    When I teach planning students I ask them to envision new kinds of cities. To imagine what a city should be like to deal with the new extremes of the climate but also to aim toward equality, care for one another, and care for all other species and the planet. It takes a lot of imagining and many cannot really make the leap. But that is what is being asked of us all. . . to have a leap of imagination far beyond what we think is possible. And then, with patience, care, attention to detail, and with community, work to manifest it in one location after another.

    It requires lots of work. And it will be frustrating as conditions shift time and time again. Just when we think we have solved one problem, another will rise up. We will be tested as never before. But I believe we can do it. And there is every possibility that we can emerge from this test to a new and even better creation. One that, with the proper care, can provide for all of us because we choose to ensure that it does. One in which creation itself and other species find life and joy in partnership with us as we tend the world together. That’s the possibility available to us right now. If we choose it.

    PS: look to the birds. We need to learn from them. Birds evolved from dinosaurs. Think of that. Those huge creatures, most perished when the asteroid hit but some lived and evolved. And today we watch them fly, nest, raise young. They adapted, flourished, and are beautiful to see. We need to learn from them as we seek this new creation. It is tragic that the current flu is killing so many. They too are being tested. And we must do what we can to ensure they continue to thrive on this planet. We need them.

  2. Another great blog. I’m pondering a bit deeper these days. Thanks much Martin!

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