Readings and Reflections for Monday 21 January 2019: Epiphany

Part 1 of 2

AM Psalm 25; PM Psalm 9, 15
Isa. 44:6-8,21-23; Eph. 4:1-16; Mark 3:7-19a

“And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message” (Mark 3: 14)

Jesus appointed people to assist in the work of caring out the message.  I think this is the work of every Christian.  To receive the message in Church and then carry that message out from the church into everyday life.  This message is carried out not only in word but also in our conduct.  As St Francis said, “Go out and preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words.”  This means that the primary method of spreading the good news is by our compassion and kindness. There are so many now who don’t bother to go to church.  They have given up on Good News.  But they still need it.  That’s where we come in.  We hear the word and take it into ourselves.  Then we go out and do good works through the faith re-kindled in us through the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Table.  With the Presence of Christ in us we go out and meet people, some are family, some are friends, some are people we have never met before.  But we have the Risen Christ within us. 

I can remember when I took Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and was assigned a floor in a hospital.  I was nervous about entering a patient’s room.  I don’t know why, I just was.  Then, I remembered the words of our supervisor who said “Go to them and just be, Christ will do the work of relationship.”  And that is exactly what happened.   I never experienced one problem.

We are all appointed to do the work of taking Jesus out to people who need him.  Do not worry and do not be afraid.  God in faith and Christ will do the heavy lifting. Be well.

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

Part 2 of 2

Ephesians

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,”  (Ephesians 4:4)

We hear these words at the Baptismal Service on page 299 of the Book of Common Prayer. Often we are reading along with the celebrant and can’t really focus on the depth of the meaning behind the words.  When Paul says there is one body he means the Christian Church.  We collectively make up the body of Christ.  The one Spirit is the Spirit of the Incarnate Word, Christ Jesus.  The Spirit has called us individually to a hope that fills a communal need.  Paul will go on to give some examples but what is important to know is that God’s plan is dependent on the call planted in each of us.  We are hard wired to be social creatures; we need each other. God made us this way. One can’t be Christian in isolation. 

The other part of this is that God is hoping!  God hopes that we will answer the call for the sake of the creation that God so loves. God doesn’t make us do good works, but rather hopes we will.  Once, an elderly lady came into the church for help, financial help.  I was busy at the moment and asked her if she could give me a minute or two.  In her desperate need she wanted to know if we were the kind of church that would help her so in her own vernacular she asked “have you ever “hoped” anybody before.  It took me a minute to realize that she was using a past tense of “help” that I had never heard. When I went to her she had left but her word stayed with me “hoped.”

It occurred to me that this is what the church is supposed to do for people, especially the down-trodden, give them hope.  So I turned the word hope into a verb.  To hope someone is to give them hope.  God has hope and wants us to pass it on.  So let’s do that.  Let’s hope people wherever we can. It is our calling. Be Well.

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

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