…for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Matthew 26:47-56 As a senior, I fenced in college. Although I was quite late to the sport the coach of the fencing class saw talent and asked me to try out for the team. Subsequently, I was chosen to be the first alternate which meant I got to travel with the varsity group. I loved it! Something about that saber was a rush particularly when I won, and I won a lot. That is until my last match of the season. I got the first touch easily and then my opponent started doing what looked like magic tricks. Before I knew it the match was over. Ego bruised; I was devastated. It wasn’t until later that my coach told me I was matched against the number one fencer in the state. That didn’t make me feel any better. A short lived run; it was a fun sport but not the kind of “sword” to live by. If we must live by the sword, let it be the sword of God’s righteousness. Let it be the sword of love, social justice and truth. Then death perhaps becomes a thing of God’s glory and not devastation.
“I have compassion for the crowd…” Matthew 15:29-39 Remembering the year I spent as a chaplain in the MICU of a Hospital, always by the third visit to this “mountain” in which the patient was holding to the hope of healing, I yearned to give more. I wanted them to be physically healed. Yet knowing that my presence and prayer was all I had, I was grateful that the relationship went beyond the physical. In this reading a crowd on the mountain is amazed at the healing that is taking place, but that wasn’t the end of it. Something more was about to happen. They’d followed Jesus up that mountain and he tended to their every need for three days. It seems clear that there was a deeper relationship in Christ which the disciples had yet to conceive. The root of the Greek word used for compassion is translated as “inward parts,” figuratively meaning that what Christ is feeling is coming from deep within. Jesus knew what he needed to do. Perhaps his compassion for the crowds on the mountain that day went beyond the lack of food, and directly towards his yearning to feed this hungry crowd the Glory of God. Today, like the disciples we are often overwhelmed asking ourselves, where, why, and how long. Yet we’ve been in this relationship with Christ long enough to know what to do. Always giving thanks, we feed on God’s Glory. For in the fullness of Christ, the righteous are not forsaken nor his seed begging bread.
Featured Image Credit:Grade Level: K-5
Content Area: Creative Arts, Language Arts
Created By: Christine Kolstoe and Kelly Kerani, Lynnwood Elementary, Lynnwood, WA, USA (Edmonds School District, north of Seattle)
“Lord, if you had been here… John 11:32-44 I never thought to ask this when my mother died. As a believer, instinctively I knew he was right there. The hardest part for me were the very last moments between her living and physical death. Of course once she had died I did not expect Christ to open her eyes. Yet oddly enough in her death it was my eyes that Christ would open. In my opinion, everyday is a day of celebration for all of God’s Saints in his kingdom, both heaven and earth.
John 11:32-44 “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Wisdom of Solomon 3:1,9 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.
Deep seeded belief in our sin has to be countered with a deeper seeded faith in God’s forgiveness. In other words if we believe that we are suffering because of something we have done, we will always suffer unless we truly believe that God has forgiven us. The enemy would rather have us hold on to the sin knowing that as long as we believe it is the reason for holding us back it will have the power to keep us from walking forward in Christ. But know this, God’s forgiveness existed long before our confession of sin or our confession of faith and will continue to exist long after. With faith in God’s forgiveness, we are able to stand and walk for the glory of God. A far greater sin is to not believe in God’s mercy and God’s grace because the alternative is to be forever disabled. Therefore, stand up and walk. Go forth in the name of Christ knowing that God’s forgiveness is whole, everlasting, and complete.
Luke 5:12-26 …there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus he begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. …Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’