Sunday, September 28, 2014

God's Wonder and Authority

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, `Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, `I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him."  Matthew 21:23-32

Arriving home after nearly 24 hours in transit was both joyful and exhausting. All of the wonders that we saw and the wonderful people we met keep passing through my mind. How do I honor those with whom we met, and how do we move forward from here? God always brings us to places and to people who change us. Our experiences made us go a new direction. We are meant to pay attention and to listen to these moments in our lives, seeking God within each of them.

The people in the temple hearing Jesus were not willing to be changed. They sought to undermine Christ's authority or disenfranchise him. They were not going to hear him with an open heart. God calls us today to live with an open heart. Each wondrous encounter in our lives comes with sacred opportunity. By the heart of God we are broken open anew to be remade by God's authority and power. The invitation today is to always be made new by God.

Today I ask God to help me be made anew. As we come home and settle in may we not forget the gifts we have been given. May we always be open to God's transforming love and power.

The Collect
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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