Dam, It's Our Mission!
#DamItsOurMission is the podcast for June 30, 2019, What does the Hoover Dam and Jesus have to do with us? Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Luke9 #HooverDam #Mission #Sacrifice #Priorities #Discipleship
Full Text of Podcast, Open Here (For Our Deaf and H/H Brethren)
For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/30/2019 The 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 9:51-62.
[This message is delivered as it will be to my parish tomorrow morning.]
Why did you come here today? Why? Did you come here to get relief from the pain in your life? Did you come here to get an inspirational message that could carry you through your week? Did you come here for some other reason that is the secret in your heart? Today, we need to ask ourselves what is our purpose in coming here because today, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus has turned himself resolutely toward his mission. So, it should be good for us to ask the simple question, “are we here for our mission or are we here for God’s mission?”
I do not want us to be too hard on ourselves if our mission doesn’t line up with God’s mission because we do have company. Earlier, Jesus tells the apostles, “I am going to be persecuted, unjustly charged by the Pharisees and leaders of the Jews, and killed.” Their response? “Cool, and you are the Messiah and are going to put us at your right and left hand, right?”
We have a tendency to do that. We have a tendency to get focused on the expectation that we are already in the New Jerusalem in Revelation where John’s vision shows us there will be no more sin, death, dying, mourning, or crying. That is what we want and we do get that in the Mass [or Worship Service] when we commune with Jesus or from an uplifting and hopeful homily, as we should. Yet, to make the ecstatic experience and spiritual high moments of our walk with Jesus the focus or goal of our spirituality is to be idolatrous. The easy way, the ecstatic experience, and the spiritual high is not our God. Our God is one who emptied himself in a mission to come to earth; be one of us, be born our birth, walk our walk, talk our talk, live our life, die our death and be raised to a resurrected and eternal life. We tend to focus on the “Cool, you are the Messiah and you are ushering in the good stuff” and not “my mission is the hard work which leads to rejection and death.”
In 1922, Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover approved a project that would bring electricity to 1.3 million people in the Western United States. It would solve a problem for farmers that could not keep up with the advancements in farming due to a lack of electricty. The project wasn’t begun until 1931, a welcome accident of planning during the Great Depression, which began in 1929. The project would later go on to receive Hoover’s name officially in 1947. It is the Hoover Dam.
If you have ever seen pictures of Hoover Dam, it is massive. To be able to dam up the Colorado River at Black Canyon for the hydroelectric plant, they needed to construct the dam with a base that is over 660 feet thick. It is over 760 feet tall. I would say that is massive. It is a public works project and engineering marvel. It is made of concrete, poured inches high at a time. It was needed. It was built. What we don’t talk about is that 96 men fell to their deaths to build the Hoover Dam.
The fact of the matter is that we know that there will be human costs to these kinds of missions. I could name any number of worthy pursuits that save human life, build a necessary marvel, or reach to the moon and back. Each of these noble pursuits cost human lives, caused pain, and came at tremendous cost of happiness, family life, and suffering. We think nothing of it. Yet, when we are faced with the possibility of pain, suffering, or death at the mission of God, we change the channel to Joel Osteen.
After showing Peter, James, and John himself with Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration, Jesus comes down from the mountain. The transfiguration is what precedes this passage in the Gospel of Luke. It is after Jesus shows the apostles what is on its way: a vision and experience of heaven, that he “sets his face toward Jerusalem.” This is what the Greek says, “He set his face toward Jerusalem.”
The crucifixion is in Chapter 23. Jesus doesn’t arrive in Jerusalem until Chapter 19. We are in Chapter 9 and he is already focused on his death and resurrection. He has already set his face like flint toward a mission that involves taking the heat for doing the right thing. On this journey from Chapter 9 to 19 Jesus calls the crowd to conversion, preaches positive messages of discipleship to the converted, and parables of rejection to those who resist him. Through it all, he keeps his face firmly directed toward the goal of his mission.
He knows he is the God-man who will be sacrificed as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He will fight the greater battle against sin. He will build a community of mutual support that will embrace not only that we are on our way to the New Jerusalem, but that we have the same mission. We come here to be connected in divine splendor with the living God, but we also are called to leave here and go out to be open about our faith, talk about our love of Jesus Christ, and bring others into the kingdom. It was his mission. It is our mission.
We build the Hoover Dam and we lose 96 men and that seems justified. We receive rejection from the world because we are saving the universe and we run for the hills. Sometimes, we will lose our jobs. Sometimes we will lose friendships, lovers, marriages, children, family, money, time, energy, and rest. Sometimes we will lose our opinions. Sometimes we will lose our comfortability. Sometimes we will lose. Like the Hoover Dam, but more, what we are saying by coming here is that God’s mission is worth it.
Yes, we want the mountain top experience and life in heaven, but there is no Crown without the Cross. We are not building 4 billion kwh per year that will give electricity to 1.3 million people. We are building the kingdom of God that will influence generations to come. [In our churches and parishes, we are building places of peace, instruction on the ways of God, and communities that embrace the principles of love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control.] [We are building a parish that welcomes the wounded by the church, the divorced, the hurting, and the outcast in what we hope will be a diverse community that brings healing and new disciples to advance Jesus’ Kingdom.] It is not a dam, but it is our mission. Is it your mission? [Amen.]
Are you making Sunday church your priority? Are you reading the Bible at least a little every day? Are you making time to listen for what the Lord is telling you every day? Are you making choices for different friends and different people in your life that support your new life in Jesus Christ? Are you thinking of your sins and getting rid of them through Confession? Are you tithing? Are you serving the Church in some capacity? Are you setting your face toward Jersualem?
It is not a dam, but it is our mission. Is it your mission? Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2019.
96 men died building it.
1.3 million people served
4 Billion kwh per year.
Built 1931-1936 as part of a recognized need for power to farmers in the West under the Coolidge administration, and was originally thought of by Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, 1922.
Donate $2 for This Podcast
Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian