COME & SEE
Week of January 22, 2023
The Word …
urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(1 Cor 1: 10-13, 17)
Pondering the Word …
Every so often I look back on what I have written in the past about a particular passage. Sometimes, I find not much has changed in 15 years (e.g., this week’s reading about kingdoms or houses that are divided—same story, different year)! But on this passage, I notice a change from what I had written before, and I’m sorry to say it’s not a change for the better.
In 2014, I wrote about strides being made in Christianity to bridge the differences between denominations. It seems that while some of this work continues, it is more within denominations that cracks and divisions—some serious—are being seen and acted upon.
Like is the case with so many issues, the media focuses on the sins and abuses of the leadership and the institutions, be they religious or governmental. I know there are millions of dedicated civil servants who work hard for the good of others, and servants of Christ all over the world who are united in the same mind and same purpose in his name. These dedicated people sacrifice every day, and there are clearly many more of them than there are those who by their desire for power make a mockery of the gospel.
I’m saddened that this infighting only serves to lessen the meaning of Christ’s cross. As Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Living the Word …
I encourage all of us who call ourselves Christians to pay attention to Jesus and his words and actions. Yes, we know him only through the writings of the four evangelists; and yes, early church leaders like Paul put their spin on things as well. But Christ is not and will not be divided, no matter how much our human egos and power struggles try to do so. And I believe those who continue to work to divide the Body of Christ will be judged harshly by the one who came to unite all people under one God. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Where will you shine Christ’s light into the darkness of division? How will you work today to multiply Christ and his love? What will you do to be a “repairer of the breach?”
Mon, Jan 23:
whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit…is guilty of an everlasting sin"(Mk
Tue, Jan 24: “I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me, he put a new song into my mouth” (Ps 40). Reflection/Provision: Last week, we spoke about newness and freshness, looking at how we honor God, not through rote rituals emptied of their meaning, but by breathing new life into those rituals and offering sacrifices to God in the way God desires: freeing the oppressed, feeding the hungry, working for justice, etc. In many of the psalms, we are told “sing to the Lord of new song,” but in this psalm, it is God who has “put a new song into my mouth.” If you are eager to add a new song or two to your repertoire, don’t go it alone. Discern where God is calling you by asking the Spirit to lead you. Seek out advice from trusted God friends. Let God take the lead in composing a new song with which you are to praise the Lord!
companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to
Thu, Jan 26: “I am grateful to God…as I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (2Tm 1:1-8). Reflection/Provision: As usual, we get only a passing reference to the women in this story. There’s a painting by Rembrandt, Timothy and his Grandmother, but even then, her name isn’t cited! We do know Lois and her daughter Eunice are Jews (some suggest they might be related to Paul), and Eunice is married to a Greek, probably not unheard of in the Roman territory where Lystra is located. Still, this intermarriage may be a source of prejudice from the Jewish community. Maybe your role in teaching the faith is in the background or maybe it is frowned upon by the self-righteous who, because of your life situation, don’t think you are “pure” enough. God always sees and greatly blesses those whose work is done without fanfare or in the face of prejudice. Take comfort and be joyful. Your name is written on the palm of God’s hand.
Fri, Jan 27: Trust in the LORD and do good…Take delight in the LORD…Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him (Ps 37). Reflection/Provision: Read the entirety of Psalm 37. In these days when it seems evildoers prosper, the words of this psalm can restore our hope and trust in God’s promises. The guidance is clear and concise: Trust in God. Do good. Take pleasure in God’s presence. Commit your way to God. Be still before the Lord. Give up your anger and wrath. Wait eagerly for the Lord and keep to the way. Perhaps you want to read this psalm every day BEFORE you read the news feed! (Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once advised that we keep abreast of current events with the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other—wise counsel indeed!)
Sat, Jan 28: As evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side” (Mk 4:35-41).
You’ve been following Jesus in familiar territory for a while now, maybe
associating with some new people, but pretty secure. You know the lay of the
land. Now he wants you to venture with him to another unknown, perhaps even
foreboding place. What is “the other side” for you? How do you feel when
Jesus informs you that’s exactly where he’s headed now? What is your
decision? Do you follow?
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