“We don’t know” Matthew 21:23-32 From A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson wrote: Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. Unlike the chief priests, Jesus and John the Baptist refused to play small. They carried out their ministry according to God’s perfect plan, never retreating or smoldering the light that was placed by God within them. Likewise, we don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by hiding who we are or hiding the authority by whom we have been given our gifts. Like the prophets before him John’s message of repentance had been heard before and like the hearers before, many in Jesus’ Palestine were used to ignoring them. Yet today, John’s message survives and continues to shine. If we are to claim the Kingdom of God we must over and again hear John’smessage and rise to proclaim the Gospel for which it lends. Remembering that the knowledge we have in God is only as important as our willingness to believe and respond to our calling.
“Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself.” Matthew 21:12-22 ”Mom its Jesus on the line!” One day when my youngest son was @ 3 or 4, he decided to answer the phone which apparently had been ringing for some time but I had not heard. He was having a conversation with the rector of our church who was trying to explain to my son who he was. Being the humble person that he is, I think my rector was a slightly embarrassed. We both chuckled a bit before either of us could get to the conversation for which he called. I’m not exactly sure how that conversation went down but looking at my son today, our rector was a great example of living in Christ and I think he made the connection just fine.
If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” Matthew 21:1-11 I love it! No debate necessary. Everything Jesus has asked of his disciples is to fulfill the scriptures. Our first challenge with the question of “why” is usually brought on by our children. Often we start out trying to explain and out of frustration we end up saying “Because I said so.” We sometimes forget that we ask our children to do things because we know that it will protect or benefit them in some way. In our spiritual journey we will be challenged as to the life we’ve chosen in Christ. I like the purpose behind that non-debateable answer that Jesus gives. So next time anyone asks I’ll just say this; “I’m living out my life in faith, according to the scriptures in which I was called.
Saturday’s Meditation – On the Eve of Advent
There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by the shouted; “Lord have mercy on us.”…Jesus stood still and called them; “What do you want me to do for you?”… they said “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:29-34
…not to be served but to serve. Matthew 20:17-28 To kick off the early Black Friday event, one of the stores decided to make one of their prized discounted items available to the customers at the end of the line that had gathered outside the store instead of the beginning of the line. I’m not entirely sure what angst that may have caused but I think it probably made some, (particularly those at the front of the line) a bit salty. To some extent in this life, we are all one managerial decision away from being chosen. The mother of James and John thought to get a jump on God’s glory for her sons before the other disciples. Jesus makes clear that God’s Kingdom is not about being the early worm but rather about our willingness towards God will as we work to serve one another. We serve God by serving one another. In serving one another we are all chosen.
“…you have made them equal…” Matthew 20:1-16 If you’ve ever picked wild grapes you know that it’s not as easy as it looks. So I can understand the early laborers gripe. Fortunately for each of us God’s grace is not measured out according to time served, but freely given by our equal willingness to say “yes” to his will. Labor in God’s Kingdom is not easy. So let us give thanks for the harvest that the rising of the sun brings. At the end of the day, what matters most is our willingness to labor. Make each day an opportunity to say “yes”.
“For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-30 Like the rich man, we all struggle to let things go. All factions of fear, such as worry, doubt and past experiences keep us from stepping in faith. All possibilities belong to God. So go ahead, walk with God, change your way of thinking and imagine the possible. For to imagine the possible is to imagine God.
See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
“Teacher, what good deeds must I do…?” Matthew 19:13-22 This discourse reminds me of a an exercise I participated in while at a business conference. We were asked to find solutions to a problem by continually asking the question; “Then what?” The rich man in this passage seems to play this game with Jesus until he gets an answer that leaves him silent. “Sell your possessions, give the money to the poor…then come follow me.” Perhaps he should have stopped at just keeping the commandments. We all get to a place in our lives where we want to move forward until we realize in order to do so we have to let something go and the trade off is scary. Then What? Of course like the rich man, Jesus also gives us something to consider. When we are willing to let go of the thing that holds us back, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience God’s love and faithfulness as something greater than all our fears.
The one being able to grasp, let him grasp … Matthew 19:1-12 A college friend told me; “Once you’ve made a decision to do something it’s yours. You have to take responsibility for it regardless of how it turns out and move on.” I received his words that day because I knew he was speaking from experience. When Jesus is pressed by authorities concerning divorce, his disciples are taken aback by his answer believing that perhaps marriage is not a good choice. But Jesus’ use of the word eunuch in three different contexts seems to make clear, the significance of having the gift of making a choice and taking responsibility for that choice. The first eunuch has no choice. The second eunuch has the choice forced upon him. The third eunuch is the one who chooses to willingly give up one life (physical) for the sake of another (spiritual). Not everyone is willing to make that commitment. Our decision to have faith in God and follow in the way of Christ is for us to own and take responsibility. Although our steps won’t always be perfect, commitment to our faith keeps us on track. The good news is that it is that faith in God (more precious than gold) of which Peter writes to the diaspora, that gives us the freedom to grasp that commitment one day at a time and live in hope by that same faith.