‘I have come that they may have life to the full’ – Wrestling with John 10: 10

The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

Lord, when killings, stealing, persecution, death and torture overwhelm us, is your promise that they may have life in abundance only another cliché?

Lord, when murder, robbery, destruction overwhelm me/us/them, calm me/us/them with your life, love, light!

When hatred fills us to the full, show us love to the full; when death, evil and sin fill us to the full, fill us with mercy.

Look around you; can you see. Times are troubled, people grieve. See the violence, feel the hardness. O my people, weep with me. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison

Walk among them; I’ll go with you. Reach out to them with my hands. Suffer with me and together, we will serve them, help them stand. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison

Forgive us, Father; hear our prayer. We would walk with you, anywhere. Through your suffering, with forgiveness, take your life into the world. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison

Pope Francis and Missio; the Church and missionaries; charities and goodwill people doing God’s will are going against the tide refusing to despair, to give in to doom, gloom, despair or fatalism but spread positive and life-giving vibes.

Going against the tide stands between the sentiments of everything is fine and ok on the one hand, and the brutal have-it-our-way-terminator lifestyle.

Going against the tide, refusing to be despondent or comply with the status quo is pushing back on a world where the visible and invisible thieves are killing and stealing and destroying.

Going against the tide is hoping against hope that Jesus the good shepherd, the sheepgate and the way, came that they/we/some/all might have life in abundance – not a cliché, not a prosperity gospel.

But what do you say to the numerous situations around the world where gunshots, covid-19, robbery, murders, sadists leave many burying their dead waiting for their turn?

What do you say in situations where preachers or pastors are howlers, entertainers, in clown costumes; in situations where congregations celebrate themselves more as if Jesus himself and his mystery was not there, did not really matter or was simply a steppingstone?

What do you and I say to the million-pound question as to what did Jesus of Nazareth did actually bring? if world peace, healing, wellbeing, realistic salvation, are evidently or apparently still absent?

What would you and I incline to let people affirm; that yes, there are thieves and murderers and destroyers on rampage, spiritually, physically, emotionally and environmentally; or that there is no apparent life to the full?

Courage, do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.  There will always be stealing, killing and destruction, but beyond these, there is life to the full in me.

I came to teach care for the environment and nature.  I came to teach care for self and others.  I came to teach and spread love, unconditional love by example.  I came to initiate the new heaven and the new earth even in the old.

I came, I worked miracles, I suffered and died for sins, I rose to bestow eternal life, I reign in hearts and I show and share love and peace in homes and communities.  I came not to stop thieves, not to destroy destroyers and not to kill killers.  I came to suffer with.  I came to show and teach compassion.  I continue to allow genocides and calamities, but I promise life after death.  I came to do away with original sin.

Your brothers around the world are suffering too… Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you..  1 Peter 5:8-9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.… 1 Peter2:9-10.

So, pray! Abide in me! Be patient in tribulations, be aglow in spirit.  Stick with me at night and in the day. Stick with me in joy and in pain.  Stick with me in love and in hatred, in good and in bad.  Stick with me in birth, in life and in death.

Life to the full is as real as the violence and death that we see and smell.  We not only smell the sheep, the stench, we smell death too, every day.  We not only see evil, we feel it too; we not only dread evil, we have the effects in us.

Life to the full in broken homes, in drunken streets, in hospital beds.

Life to the full on funeral days and at the grave yard. 

Life to the full in sleepless nights and natural disasters. 

Life to the full in conflicts, in homes; in the robust young, in the frail old. 

Life to the full in rhetoric, in silence, in the blind and the dumb, in stammering and murmuring.

Life to the full in Jesus and through Jesus.  Life to the full in you and me, through you and me.

Lord grant life to the full to those facing right now: robbery, murder, destruction, death, evil in India and Asia, in Africa and Syria, in Europe and US….

Lord grant life to the full to members of my family, to my friends, my colleagues, my acquaintances….

You were the Word at the beginning, One with God the Lord Most High, Your hidden glory in creation.  Now revealed in You our Christ. What a beautiful Name it is, what a beautiful Name it is, The Name of Jesus Christ my King.

The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the full!

Emmanuel Mbeh mhm

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