Readings and Reflections for Saturday 12 January 2019: Epiphany

AM Psalm 98, 99, [100] Isa. 66:1-2, 22-23; Rev. 3:14-22; John 9:1-12, 35-38

John

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)

I have deceased family, my cousin Rip and my Dad, other family members and some close friends that have passed who I keep alive through mimicking their words and behaviors.  It delights me to do this.  They literally become a part of who I am.  And I like showing them off. People that didn’t know them just consider what they see in me as part of who I am, and they are correct, now.

In the same way the loving light of Jesus is with us in this world wherever and whenever we model His love in all situations. He is present when we sit with the lonely, visit the sick, give a ride to those who have no transportation, or buy a meal for the hungry.  All of these acts shine as the bright light of Christ. And soon enough, these aspects of Jesus truly become who we are. These are the acts that keep Jesus with us and lights up this otherwise dark world.  Thank you Jesus for your light shining in us and we becoming who you are.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people.

Aelred of RievaulxAbbot (12 JANUARY 1167)

Psalm 36:5-10 Philippians 2:1-4 John 15:9–17

“O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
   and your salvation to the upright of heart!” (Psalm 36: 10)

What I’m getting and sharing with you comes from James Keifer a noted writer of Anglican personalities.  About Aelred he shares that Aelred left his work as Master of the Household of the King of Scotland and joined the Cistercian monastery at Rievaulx in Yorkshire under the supervision of Bernard of Clairvaux in 1133 when Aelred was 24 years old.

The Cistercian Abby of which he was a member of forbid personal preference friendships.  They insisted on ever changing pairs of twos.  The Abby wanted its monks to see Christ in all persons. They were just as insistent about not having a preference about certain foods.

Against this view, Aelred wrote that it is compatible with the highest degree of Christian perfection to take special pleasure in the company of particular friends. He points out that we are told that Jesus loved John, and Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus, and that this probably means that he found their company congenial. 

I know that for myself, my friends have changed over the years; perhaps because I’ve changed over the years.  When I was a teenager I had some friends my dad did not approve of.  His words to me were, “Water seeks its own level.”  This has stayed with me for more than 50 years now.  I don’t think I knew what he meant when he first told me, but I soon figured out that “I am my friends.”  And, as we evolve, those we most want to identify with must also be where we are. This often means new friends. 

Water does seek its own level.  We are our friends.  Having preferred friends does not mean we do not love others.  We are made to be able to love all  people but there is still a close circle of what I like to call “frimly” or friends who are as close as family.  Jesus had John, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  He loved everybody but he had an inner circle of comfort.  And so should we.  And from time to time those people might change.  And I think that’s okay.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people.

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