It is entirely possible to do the will of the Father without being moved by what we are doing. We can follow all the requirements of a good and just society, without caring about the interests of others. We can do all of these things, but care only about looking good, which is precisely the opposite of what Paul was asking of the believers in Philippi.
If you were to ask any random person on the street about a prayer that they could recite from memory, the Lord’s Prayer would make the top five. It seems that this is a prayer that everyone, whether they attend church now, or only as a child, has committed to memory. And as is often the case when we have committed words and phrases to rote memory, we often quit reflecting on their meanings and purpose.
There can never be a beloved community – a community that includes all God’s children regardless of any self-imposed differences to keep ourselves apart – there can be no peace, no living together in harmony, unless there is forgiveness and understanding.
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by
Hope that focuses on an end to things is hope that is focused inward. Hope that focuses on an end to things is hope that expects a brighter future, but does not see that future around it in the present reality. Hope that focuses on an end to things is not a hope that lives in the reality of a future that is promised but not yet manifested.
When we make the armor of God about protecting ourselves, and our own minds, we begin to see the world in black and white, we begin to see the world in right and wrong, and we look for justifications to make sure that we are always “in the right.” And when we do that, we surround ourselves with people and with information that feeds upon those self-justifications. This then turns into an Us vs. Them mentality, and when we claim Christ as our mascot, our whole worldview turns into the idea of the Christ who agrees with us as Christ against Culture instead of Christ with Us, or Christ among us.
And they took offence at him. His very presence in the synagogue, “pretending” to be a spiritual leader, incited their wrath, and they were scandalized by his presence there as one who would presume to teach them.
They knew him from when he was but a boy, and here he was taking on more authority than he ought to, more than he was allowed to, given his history, given what they knew about him.
And the result, Mark says, is that he did not do many works of power there. Instead, Jesus marveled at their disbelief.
They’ve seen this movie before, and so some of them are thinking, “Great! Jesus is here, he’ll calm the storm and all will be well.”
But Jesus doesn’t calm the storm.
He’s just standing there, telling them not to be afraid, in the midst of all this raging chaos.
I tried to rationalize, I tried to ignore, I tried to bargain, but for some reason, God kept putting this on my heart, and I finally relented. As I gave the money to my local priest to give to the bishop, I was almost in tears, wondering how this could remotely be God’s plan, seeing as how I didn’t have the money to deal with my own bills.
Lectionary Readings – 7th Sunday after Pentecost Since I grew up in northern Alaska, I have never spent much time farming, nor have I seen much in the way of wheat whenRead More…