So I've been reflecting on Palmer's situation a bit the past few days and wondering how to respond. At times it seems so overwhelming and that we can't catch a break. At times its hard not to wonder why the valley of the shadow of death has to be so long and so dark.
Then another thought occurs to me. What are the assumptions of the Enemy? I suppose we're just suppose to be intimidated and think woe is me kinda deal. I suppose we're supposed to re-think our Kingdom theologies and that heaven now stuff. I guess its best to not hurt, not empathize the pain, not enter in, not incarnate into our brother's life. I suppose the Enemy should assume that we oughta just pack it up and feel defeated.
Well, how do I say this pastorally? . . . @#$% that!
Tonight was the last of 5 sessions of a New Testament Survey course I teach for Indiana Wesleyan University. Its been a blast to teach. The truths of the Kingdom were just coming to us all waver after wave, week after week. Each night just had such an annointing, the 4 hours of class would fly by. Tonight was our last one and we ended with Revelation. I gave my take on N.T. Wright's idea of the final "unveiling" and a rapture-less consumnation. About how we are participating now in the Creation of the new heaven and new earth already. And that the Kingdom has come and yet is coming.
One of my students is a 45 year old nurse who has grown up in the kingdom hall of jehovah's witnesses but had left that church and been on a spiritual journey. Tonight she shared that it was the Jesus story that she wanted to be a part of. That the Kingdom we were discussing is what she now understands Truth and reality to be. She will take on much persecution for her decision to be a follower of Jesus but she sees no other way. Her journey has been one of struggle, contemplation and passionate pursuit. Its been so much fun to be her Spiritual Director these past few weeks. So tonight she is a new member of the Kingdom community, she is in the story of the people of God both now and forever.
This is what we do. We proclaim Kingdom and let the Spirit draw the hungry to Himself. I don't proclaim Kingdom because I like to disperse knowledge, I do it to get my sword bloody. i do it to confront my enemy, to look him in the eyes and not be intimidated as captives are set free. I know I'm supposed to be wearied and beat down but the way I figure mr. Enemy, you suck. We know no other way but to war on.
Remember the final scene of "Return of the King" when the fellowship turns and runs towards their enemy screaming "for Frodo!!!!" against seemingly insurmountable odds. Well, tonight I took one down for you Palmer. And I'll do it again tommorrow if the opportunity comes my way. We swear singular allegiance to the King.