“He summoned his twelve disciples,
and gave them authority…
My earliest memories are of life in the small North Otago town of Otematata. My dad was a mechanic in the town garage which serviced the community formed by the workers on the upper Waitaki (River) hydro scheme.
Through the 1960’s the people of Otematata laboured to harness the natural power of the river to “bring power to all New Zealand” in the lyrics of the then-popular country-music group “Plainsmen”‘s Ballad of the Waitaki.
In earlier reflections I have made the link between the power of the river becoming electric power for the homes and workplaces of people throughout the country, and the encounter with Christ in baptism (which for me happened in the small Otematata church). Baptism gives the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit (CCC1266).
That’s another way of saying that Baptism enables us to fully become who we were created to be.
The power given by Jesus to his disciples is authority, not an authority to dominate but a capacity to live abundantly, free from the compulsive motivations and behaviours that too often control us. It is this way of living that is attractive to those who seek abundant life.
We experience power every day. Think of the power of nature in the weather and other natural events.
There are times when even the best of us misuse power. This is why we need to individually and collectively embrace paths to healing, Te Houhanga Rongo, not as a one-off process, but as a way of living on earth in relationship with Jesus Christ. On this journey we begin to walk alongside each other soon aware that the power we have together is much more attractive and effective than our isolated and unhealthy need to be powerful.
It’s easy to point the finger at others noticing their misuse and abuse of power and it is right that we notice and courageously speak and act to correct and heal these behaviours and environments.
But the place where I have the greatest power is with myself.
I am not powerful because I have this job, this education, this money or this status. The move from survival to life (ie from religion to faith) comes when I acknowledge that left to myself I am powerless. As the Step One Prayer (of AA) encourages us to pray: “Dear Lord, I admit that I am powerless… I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it. Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness…”
When I have come to ground, when I am brought to my knees – perhaps by unwelcome circumstances, I am ready to pray the heart-felt prayer of the powerless and only then do I have capacity for true friendship with Jesus Christ and with others.
Only the one who lives in this divine relationship is living with full-power and authority.
You might like to:
- note how have you exercised your God-given authority wisely and well over the past 24 hours. How have you misused this power?
- Print a copy of this inspiring Christmas poster for your home or workplace.
- Take a moment to pray for those whose initials appear below. You are welcome to continue to send initials of those who need prayer. (newest initials appear first)