Readings and a Reflection for Tuesday 8 January 2019: Epiphany

Daily Office Readings

AM Psalm 117, 118; PM Psalm 112, 113  Isa. 59:15-21; Rev. 2:8-17; John 4:46-54 

“Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way.” (John 4: 50)

This exchange between Jesus and the royal official really demonstrates how Jesus uses what we believe for our own good.  Jesus goes deeper than what we say we believe – Jesus goes straight to what’s in our hearts.  Jesus sees how we act – how we behave.  We must remember that to Jesus all hearts are open, all desires known and from him no secrets are hid.  (BCP p. 355)

We are a creedal people. God bless us!  We have what we say we believe, and we have what we really believe.  In our Nicene Creed we profess that we believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Within this declaration there is therein contained the history of Jesus’ birth from Mary and his death from Pontius Pilate. There is also the Easter message of “He rose again on the third day and ascended and will return to judge the living and the dead.”

So do we really believe that at some point we will indeed stand before the Judge?  What’s that going to look like?  What should we be doing now so as to make that time a pleasant experience? We must Go!  Just like the royal official, we must go on about our business and at the same time believing these three things: 1st God IS, always has been and always will be.  2nd God is good, always has been, always will be.  And lastly God loves us humans particularly.  This is made evident in God’s decision to come down to us as one of us.  God has placed in us the power of belief. We don’t use it near enough.

In the words of Bishop Anselm (one time archbishop of Canterbury) speaking on what it means to believe.  He writes, “I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand.  For this, too, I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”  (page 240 of Lesser Feast and Fast 2006)  Anselm informs us that there is a distinct difference between understanding something believing something.  There is a teaching in some Christian circles that suggests that we must first understand so that we will believe.  It tries to have us understand why all things happen so that we might believe.  This is not what Jesus or Anselm showed. The royal official was rewarded because he believed not because he understood, and so will we if we just believe.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.

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