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Gentle Moments 4: Power


Issue 337

This Worktalk weekly is the fourth in our Lent series looking at the gentler moments on Jesus’ journey.

In one of the iconic moments of the terrible 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a seven year old boy named Kiki was pulled out of the rubble after seven and a half days buried in a potential tomb. A smiling face captured on camera was the combination of targeted resources and an almost super-human piece of work (yes – work) by a dedicated team of rescuers from New York and Virginia. The moment of rescue itself was tiny, tender and gentle, but the energy required to create it was immense. Too much force and the boy would have been crushed; not enough effort and he would have been lost. This was a dangerous moment and required extremely careful use of controlled power.

The use of power is a constant challenge in the workplace. Power can corrupt, and it can inspire;mit can be used to release or enslave. Power can be made to manipulate or organise. Power may spring from one or a combination of numerous sources. It may be financial or positional, in that great wealth or resources literally confer the owner with spending or purchasing power. The holding of an influential position confers the post-holder with permission to make powerful decisions. Workplace power may be corporate, military or political.

Some of these forms of power are derived from external factors, as can be understood when you encounter the people who hold them in their gift.

There is also a personal power which an individual can express. It is harder to define, but when you are in its presence you feel it, sense it and are drawn to it.

The scene which will hold our gaze for a moment contains, as the Haitian drama did, a child at its centre. A twelve year old girl has died, and the one Person considered to have enough power to heal her has arrived too late. Like Haiti or any site of grief, it is chaotic, noisy and raw.

No one has any idea how much power has really arrived with the appearance of this Nazarene. An immense force  has just walked into their house and with him comes an innate strength greater than the Haitian earthquake, Hiroshima bomb or a multinational  corporation. If they realised, , they would be terrified.

What he does is stop the noise, change the mood and invite them to rethink. We couldexplore any of these actions, but we are here to find the gentle moment – and we will not be disappointed.

In words that can only be spoken with exquisite tenderness he says, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”. It takes less than three seconds to say but, in this gentlest of moments, a terrific power is unleashed. A dead girl is brought back to life; an unlived life  snatched from the void. An untold story can now be told…

It is this ability to concentrate such awesome power into the tender moment which opens our eyes to Jesus’is skill. The indiscriminate, wanton use of power can produce any number of unintentional consequences. It takes massive skill to use extreme power in gentle causes. Maybe, as you read, you are becoming aware of some power you hold; it might be your money, your position, your intellect or your resources that empower you.

It might be that you hold power in the life of another for some unclear, even mystical reason. Whatever the source of your power, this story invites you to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and use your power with kindness, tenderness and the most exquisite gentleness you can find.

Only then can the untold stories be told


Mark 5:35-43

35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?” 36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” ). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

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Series: Gentle Moments
Module: 2
Season: Lent
Daily Guide: No

Tags: death, gentleness, kindness, love, meekness, motive, rescue

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Geoff Shattock

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