Monday, October 22, 2018

Pairs

For Tuesday, October 23rd

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
 ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgement it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
 ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’ Luke 10:1-16

It is so much better to me to have company and a companion in everything I do. I have
always liked working in teams, always liked the creativity and encouragement when
others are around. Laughter always erupts, trust is built, and huge things are accomplished
by a small team. As I prepare to leave the Diocese of Montana, I am sad to leave this
dynamic and creative team. Their hearts and lives are dedicated to service. I pray that
my next assignment will give me partners like these.

Jesus sends a multitude of folks out, two by two, in pairs. We don't know hoe these
dynamic duos were put together, we just know that that was how they went. They went
out with very little, expecting miracles, and miracles happened. We know that they
were told to expect rejection and cruelty, and yet they would also find generosity and
welcome. We are reminded that this is true in our walk in faith. Every day can be a
challenge, some people will rejects us, but we still carry the potential for miracles
in the relationships of welcome. 

Today, I ask God to give me the strength to on from here knowing that I will be blessed
with others to go with me, and will see miracles and welcome in the coming days. May 
we all walk on knowing love surrounds us, even in the places of rejection and anger. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hand to the Plow

For Monday, October 22nd



When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:51-62

Hand to the Plow

The gentle sun warms us up
our backs stretch we begin to plow
we have planned our crops
now we must make it all ready.

Leaning in and looking forward
our eyes on the near horizon
for straight and even rows
now is not the time to look back.

The work is hard and thankless
there is always more to do
we have no control over weather
nor the pests that will infest.

For now it seems like the end
we cannot imagine new starts
even as we are bent by the chore
God is making all of us new.

We are called to plant again
to seed the future for other's young
to make room for the growth
despite that we cannot see it now.

Our labor is never in vain
if we but lean in and sing
if we will rejoice in the doing
there will be abundance again.




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Servant of All

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, 
we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you
 want me to do for  you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand 
and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you
 are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism 
that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are  able.” Then Jesus said to them, 
“The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized,
 you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine  to grant,
 but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they
 began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and  said to them, 
“You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord
 it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; 
but whoever  wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever 
wishes to be first among  you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be 
served but to serve, and to give his  life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45

Very few people notice the people who serve them day in and day out. Some folks
even get surly to those simply doing their job, but not fast enough for others' liking.
Servants are the lowest paid and the most often disrespected. They clean up messes
 that others would not. They are often the first to lose their positions when businesses
cut back. They are often never known by name. Being the least means taking the worst
 from folks and asking God to redeem it. Being the least means not getting your way
but getting out of others' way and making room for God to transform it all Two brothers
 ask to be first among the disciples in the final days. They really didn't know what they 
asked for. Yet, we humans ache to be the star of the show, the famous and the one who
 people strain to see. Yet Jesus tells them that in God's design, those of us who are
willing to be the unsung, the unknown, and those who set the stage for others are really
the first in God's eyes and heart. The Creator made us for love - self-giving, serving,
honoring love. In giving ourselves away, we will find love in the awesome presence
of our Creator.

Today I ask God to help me be a servant, living self-giving service, not for any honors
 but because that is where God is known. May we serve others with joy trusting that
the Creator joins us there.


Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the
 nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world
 may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus
 Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for 
ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Welcome This Child

For Saturday, October 20

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, ‘Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It throws him into convulsions until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.’ Jesus answered, ‘You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and
bear  with you? Bring your son here.’ While he was
 coming, the  demon  dashed him to the ground in
 convulsions. But Jesus  rebuked the unclean spirit,
 healed the boy, and gave him  back to his father.
 And all were astounded at the greatness
of God.
While everyone was amazed at all that he was doing, he
 said to  his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears:
The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’
 But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was
concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it.
 And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
 An argument arose among them as to which one of them was
 the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a
 little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever 
welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever
 welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least 
among all of you is the greatest.’
 John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons
 in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not
 follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for
 whoever is not against you is for you.’ Luke 9:37-50

Welcome

Maybe they seem very different
their words or lack thereof daunting
foods or behaviors slightly off
yet dealt loved by their Creator.

Often we invite the people nearby
the ones like us that understand
gentle folks who do not disturb
those who make us comfortable.

Yet our Creator designed them all
familiar and differently abled
the messy, obsessive and scared
all of us who need to be made home.

Surrounded by much abundance
nothing to fear, no one to exclude 
made in the image and heart of God
our tables with groan with joy.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Up On The Mountain


For Friday, October 19th

Now about eight
days after these
sayings Jesus took 
with him Peter and
 John and James,
 and went up on 
the mountain to 
pray. And while 
he was praying, 
the appearance of
his face changed,
and his clothes 
became dazzling
white. Suddenly 
they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 
They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure,
 which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 
Now Peter and his companions were weighed down 
with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory
 and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving
 him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here;
 let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and 
one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying
 this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were
 terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came
 a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’
 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they
 kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things 
they had seen. Luke 9:28-36

We all have moments that have made a permanent and profound
impression on our hearts and minds. A moment where we witnessed
something so moving, so rare and beautiful that there are no real
words to describe it. We sometimes fear we were dreaming and
think if we talked about it folks would think of us as crazy. Yet,
on the edge of the of world, or high up in the mountains, the light
is unique and we are somehow more open to the movement of
the spirit. Often these transforming moments give us the courage to
face the coming days.

Jesus goes up into the mountains with his closest friends, to take
time to reflect and pray. Afterwards, he would set his face to the
hard walk into Jerusalem. Was this moment of revelation, of trans-
figuration, a glimpse at the intimacy of God to son, loving parent
to a beloved child, the love for God for the whole world. We are
invited to the imagine God's love and delight in us, despite our
broken and reckless behavior. 

Today, I ask God to help me regain that vision of the encompassing
love which the Divine has for us all, not matter how we have
been dwelling in dark shadows and disappointments in the low 
lands of our lives.




Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Follow Me

 For Thursday, October 18th

Once when Jesus 
was praying alone,
 with only the 
disciples near him,
 he asked them
‘Who do the
 crowds say  
that I am?’ 
They answered,
 John the Baptist;
 but others, Elijah;
 and  still others, 
that one  of the
 ancient prophets
 has arisen.’
 He said to them, ‘But who  do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, 
‘The Messiah of God.’  He sternly ordered and commanded them 
not to tell anyone, saying, ‘The Son of Man must undergo great 
suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, 
and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’
 Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers,
 let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow
 me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those 
who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them 
if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those
 who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man 
will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the 
Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some
 standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom
 of God.’ Luke 9:18-27

Follow Me

The road ahead is never easy
though there I will always be
the climb will test your strength
you can always lean into me.

Go to the dirty city streets
gather up your lonely friends
help them to walk and breathe
marked as an mob of compassion.

We will not have glory or fame
we will not be covered by cameras
yet we will dance and sing together
made whole in our extreme need.

The victors now will never understand
they will measure us as failures
yet we will still climb on together
for divine love urges us on.