Tag Archives: Called by God

Tenacity

Ordinary Time
February 5, 2018

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ –2 Kings:1-3

One of the characteristics often found among the people of God is tenacity. In the scripture above, I only quoted one segment of Elisha’s persistent pursuit of his mentor Elijah. After Bethel Elisha follows Elijah to Jerico, and after Jerico to the Jordan. Tenacious love is the bedrock of God’s people. Having the faith that love is the ultimate factor in living the abundant life God has planned for all his children. Our greatest challenge is living that love no matter what. We are called to love our way through greed, lust for power, and bigotry among many other forces of evil that threaten us. We are called to advocate for all to survive and thrive while those same forces are storming down on them. Loving and wanting the best for perpetrators of evil are perhaps the hardest parts of our work.

Jesus loved his enemies. I envision him looking down on Jerusalem saying:

‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37)

While driving, I listened on the radio recently to interviews with retail workers saying they might work ten hours a week or 30. They never knew from week to week. They never worked a 40 hour week and in the down weeks paid part of their rent using a credit card on which they routinely were only able to make the minimum payment. I then heard someone interviewed saying that our economy was great because the stock market was higher than it had ever been. What a disconnect, our world is out of synch. God’s love is the only thread that can weave us together to become one in a world that affords all God’s abundant life. We are the conduits of God’s love in the world today.

Prayer: Lord, strengthen us to be tenacious in sharing your love throughout all aspects of our lives. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Doubt

Living in the Spirit
June 9, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Doubt is a healthy response. Overplayed doubt can immobilize and is not healthy. Being without doubt is dangerous. Think about it. Doubt makes us question what seems unlikely or improbable particularly if the situation is outside our normal concepts of reality. Doubt makes us consider all the possibilities before we allow a new concept to enter our comfort zones. The Greek word, distazo*, translated  in our scripture as doubt means going two ways, shifting between positions turning something over and over again in our minds until we gain a sense of peace with our understanding of whatever made us question in the first place.

Coming to peace with any reality is the first step to courage. Courage is what enabled common people from the first century to transcend self-expectations becoming more than they ever expected to be. In so doing they took the teaching of Jesus from a tiny country in the middle east and changed the whole world. We are called to continue that mission. Failure is not an option if we want to live in a world ruled by love, not eaten up with greed and lust for power.

Prayer: Lord, as you wrestled with Jacob thousands of years ago helping him realize who you were, wrestle with us today until we come to peace with who you are and what you need us to do. Empower us to continue living your love and passing it to others you place in our paths. Amen.

*http://biblehub.com/greek/1365.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Sent

Pentecost
June 4, 2017

Scripture Reading: John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

As the Father has sent me, so I send you. For what reason was Jesus sent? Marshaling all humans to work toward and achieve a world ruled by love seems to be the primary thrust of Jesus ministry. It started at creation when God the parent imprinted the ability to love in each of us. God’s abiding love shone forth in the gift of Jesus as a role model, a teacher, and ultimately as a Savior. Without question, we each have a major role to play. Love is impotent when it lies dormant; it multiplies exponentially with the smallest expression. What greater example of the phenomenon of love is there than an itinerate preacher, the questionable son of a carpenter who lived perhaps 33 years left the seeds 2,000 years ago that are still producing love today.

Is it human nature to expect a return on any investment we make? Can we love without ever seeing any return? God practices love without any promise of return. If God through Jesus Christ loves without strings, does he expect the same behavior from us? God’s love is based on the sure and certain knowledge that love always grows more love even when God saw his only son cruelly crucified on a cross.

O Love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be. 

O Light, that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be*.

Prayer: Let your love flow through me to others. Amen.

*Verses one and two from hymn O, Love that Wilt Not let Me go by George Matheson  see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/432

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.