Sunday, September 4, 2011
In the Midst of Us
Jesus said, "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." Matthew 18:15-20
Yesterday, we did something we have never done before, we got a ride onto the beach. Mark is on crutches due to knee surgery and really wanted to sit on the beach but was unable to since the sand and crutches were not cooperating. With some trepidation I went to the life guard garage and asked if it was possible to get transportation since they have many vehicles. They were happy to help us and picked us up and took us off with kindness and professionalism. We were grateful. Sometimes you have to ask and always God is in the midst of us, "bidden or unbidden".
Jesus tells his disciples about living in community, and how simple, honest conversation with others was essential to a shared life. He also wanted them to know of the power that was with them (and is with us) to bring good (or ill) to the community. If they would but work together, agreeing and forgiving one another, with egos in check, God's love and mercy would prevail in everything. And Jesus promised to be with them in everything, if they would but ask.
Today, I want to remember to ask, to seek God's strength in all times, not just in extreme need. I ask God that we can agree together these days, in these times of extreme need and challenge throughout the world, so that God's mercy and goodness can flow through us and be evident and prevail in everything.
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.