Imagine if Jesus came to Canada.
Imagine Him touring around and visiting people. Imagine Him visiting the Maritimes, speaking French with some locals in Quebec City, going to Ottawa, visiting a school in the prairies, talking with tourists in Banff, riding on BC Ferries.
Imagine Him announcing He was going to come to the Comox Valley.
What do you think He would be doing while He was here? Who would He talk to? What kind of people would He stop to help? Would you hope He would stay here? Why? What if you heard He was going to walk through your neighbourhood? Would you want to see Him? What would you want to say to Him if you got the chance? What would you want to ask?
What would cause Him to want to suddenly leave?
Imagine He suddenly left the Comox Valley. Imagine He left Canada altogether. Imagine you found out there was something going on here that bothered Him. It didn't fit with Him and His kingdom, so He left.
What would that be?
Did He leave because of the political climate? Changing views on sexuality in Canada? The kind of things being allowed to be taught in schools?
It's an interesting thought experiment to imagine Jesus coming to Canada. Coming to the Comox Valley - stopping by the military base, having coffee with some new friends at the Mill, sharing His food with a hunched over man pushing a shopping cart on a side street in Courtenay, knocking at your front door just as you finished preparing dinner.
It's an interesting thought experiment to imagine Him leaving in a hurry. How would you feel? Why did He leave?
In John chapter 6 we read about a time Jesus left.
The chapter opens with the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 (where would He do that in the Comox Valley?) but in verse 15 it says,
"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force withdrew"
What was wrong with this picture? Wasn't Jesus already "King?" Wouldn't it have been right for everyone to recognize Him as King?
I think it came down to two things.
The people of Israel had gotten off track. They forgot about God's global purpose. They forgot that God had wanted to bless and reach the whole world through His people (Israel). Instead, they bought into an idea of God's purposes coming in a top-down sort of way through national government.
When the crowd was fed miraculously by Jesus they thought all their national hopes could be fulfilled if this man would only be their king. So they tried to make it happen.
But the way of Jesus is not force. It is love and it is Spirit.
"Not by might (force) nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty."
Nationalism + force seems to = Jesus leaving. These are not the ways of our King. These are not the ways of His Kingdom.
Jesus, forgive us each for our human tendencies toward pride and power. May we embrace your ways. We do long for you to presence yourself in even greater ways here in Canada and especially here in the Comox Valley! We pray that your ways of love and the work of your Spirit in us and through us will lead to many more people discovering You! May many surrender to your rule of love and rescue! Please use us in this!