Daily Office Readings for Saturday of the 5th Week of Easter: Year 2
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easythat leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13- 14)
I often remind my congregation that Christianity is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, a narrow gate, if you will. If you have ever been in line to get through a narrow door, or even in heavy traffic where one lane is closed and drivers must merge or “zipper” into a single lane, you have some idea about the need for patience. Also, the road is difficult. Christians must undergo some uncomfortable experiences and often stand with those who are overwhelmed.
Our Congregation as been downsized due to COVID 19. Many Christians of “Mega” churches have also been downsized and don’t like it. However in the beginning of the Jesus Movement, we assembled in the homes of believers (in secret). We were small groups around a table. We may be back to that now. Those who brought the Word, themselves worked jobs only to show that they were not trying to profit from the Gospel, rather, they were prophets of the Gospel.
In our 2nd Thessalonians reading for today we read, “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3: 7 – 10)
I am one of those clergy who believes that I should have a regular job as I study and prepare to preach the Gospel. Not a lot of Clergy agree with me, and that’s fine. In my way of understanding the clergy role. it should be the bishop whose sole focus should be his or her diocese. The argument will be raised, “Who wants to go to three years of seminary only to work as a part-time priest?” Our Gospel reading says, “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” As I look back now I regret not having worked a secular vocation while in active ministry.
Our lives as believers comes down to believing, praying and following God’s lead even through the narrow gates, and over the hard roads, while supporting ourselves and others. Standing with Ukraine is both a narrow gate and a hard road to traverse. They continue to need our prayers and support while being attacked by the Russian military. We are called to stand with David even as he faces Goliath. Following our faith is not easy but it is where our Great Shepherd is leading us.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John