Thoughts for January 29, 2017

Day one, Week five, Year 2017

It was many years ago, I had been given the task of becoming a deacon in the church. I was 16. I was totally confident I was not worthy of this task, in fact I was scared to death. Then a neighbor was murdered, was shot to death while working the pumps at a local service station. His widow and daughter attended our church. They were not overly active but they came on Sunday morning. I saw her. I knew her from my paper route as well as in the church. I went to the pastor and said we have to help. I read what the Bible says about the work of a deacon. I have to help. The pastor said, don’t worry Carl, welfare will take care of them. Deacons don’t do anything in our church.

His words have haunted me as I consider what following Jesus is about. There seems to be a major divide in today’s Christian Church. As I began to think about this meditation a movie I watched came to mind. The movie Becket https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM6nWIcevOE  This is a movie about a priest who was friends with the king. The king would appoint this friend, a priest, to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. The ensuing struggle the priest faces illustrates the scripture readings today. How powerful are words to pull behaviors from our deepest inhibitions? How powerful are words to create a vision that gives guidance that nurtures integrity, offers opportunities to live beyond our own capability to design a righteous walk?

Please read the following scriptures.

http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=16
• Micah 6:1-8  •
• Psalm 15  •
• 1 Corinthians 1:18-31  •
• Matthew 5:1-12

Be not Afraid
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI49peWG2d0

Breathe On Me Breath of God
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5keJHZdWYM

Perhaps music such as this sets the stage to hear the words of scripture.

Ours is a society wrestling with a major transition. Will we see forces that drive us destroy us or will these forces deliver us?

The prophet Micah pinpoints the struggle there is between serving God and how the acquisition of personal wealth is to be lived out. He is not shy as he speaks of how personal wealth leads us to be a servant in society.  It is not a simple task. Do we have the liberty to ignore these words of scripture? Or should we decide like the pastor in the opening thought that some scripture can be ignored? At what point do the words of scripture grab us or like Becket in his call to become Archbishop do we acknowledge our life is no longer our own.

Who then are the people who will be serving God? The Psalmist reminds us this is not about who answers an altar call, this is not about who can put on the best worship program or “show.” The Psalmist talks of an inner movement, a movement of the soul, the walk of truth that naturally flows without promptings. This walk becomes that person. This person becomes that walk.

The Apostle Paul speaks of how foolish this idea may sound but then concludes there can only be one wisdom. Wisdom is to strip all pride, all aggression toward hanging on to one’s own life and become that servant who identifies with the cross. The focus becomes the way of the walk.

The disciple Matthew reflects on the teachings of Jesus.
It is legitimate for the spirit to acquiesce to the call.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
It is legitimate to weep, to mourn over the struggle about the brokenness that surrounds us.
Blessed are those who mourn.
It is legitimate to posture one’s life as a servant.
Blessed are the meek.
It is legitimate to seek the higher road.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
It is legitimate to seek a life of mercy and grace.
Blessed are the merciful.
It is legitimate to look, to seek God.
Blessed are the pure in heart.
It is legitimate to lay down the weapons of war and controversy.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
It is legitimate to stand for the cause greater then yourself.
Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness.
It is legitimate to stand in conflict with forces that destroy.
Blessed are you when you are persecute for standing against evil.
It is legitimate to be glad and to recognize that this is what the “call” is all about.

Prayer:

Today Lord may be just another day. Then again it may be ANOTHER day. A day given to accept the call to live by words of substance and significance. Revealed in the words of Jesus is the intention of all that would bring meaning to who we are as people and ultimately to an understanding of who you are as God. Please take these thoughts cause our minds not to ignore them. Please cause there to be a merging of our hope, our expectations and our willingness to act. Be glorified in all we are, in all who you are. Amen.

A quiet moment
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGzISmJzyi8

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