Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Cup

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Matthew 10:34-42b

It's been raining off and on for two days and the sky has been hanging low and heavy with dense dark clouds. We are surrounded by water and this fall has been particularly wet and stormy. Starting with Hurricane Irene in late August, we have seen an over-abundance of water falling from the sky, puddling everywhere and filling up basements. There are plenty of places that rarely see water, and people who are desperate for water night and day. It might be easy for us here to take water lightly and to not understand its value. Water is essential to life and when water is scarce, everyone suffers.

Jesus talks to the people about the cost and challenges of following him. Jesus knew that truly following him came with costs that are great - divided families, financial and personal challenges, rejection and abuse - and the rewards are likewise great. Acts of love and mercy - a simple cup of cold water - are the signs of a beloved follower, a willing servant of God. What one might take as a simple act, God knows to be valuable and necessary - life and soul saving. We are encouraged to see our brokenness, our lack of peace and the human divisions we ache over, as a part of our ministry, with value in the lack as well as in the abundance.

Today, I ask God to help me to be grateful for the lack as well as the abundance. I pray for strength to be humble and compassionate in the face of challenges. May we all be encouraged in our brokenness, knowing God is using us, in small cups of water, for the healing of the world.

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