Readings and Reflections for Saturday 26 January 2019: Epiphany

Part 1of 2

Daily Office Readings: Year 1

AM Psalm 30, 32; PM Psalm 42, 43
Isa. 46:1-13; Eph. 6:10-24; Mark 5:1-20

“You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.”  (Psalm 30:3)

We are going to read about the healing of the man with many demons in part 2.  But let us look at what we have here.  The Psalmist praises God for lifting him up from his apparent path to death. His life was given back to him. Life is not just watching time go by so that we can hurry up and get to the end of the stress we are experiencing.  If we want to see what life is we only have to watch a young child as she learns how to play with a new toy or as she taste a new food for the first time and see the excitement in her face.  That’s what life is, experimentation and exploring!

I think any number of us can sometimes consider our life trajectory as a spiral downward into the abyss. The mundane becomes the slow construction of our tomb.  There is no experimentation or exploring.  There is only routine boredom at best, routine aggravation at worst.

But when God brings you up to experience a new craft, or new studies and most especially when God puts in your path new people in your life, God is restoring your life, restoring it as you were trying so hard to be ever going down to the grave. Examine your life intently.  What new skills, new studies and new people has God placed in your life?  Do not live going down to the grave, live being restored by God.  It is not so much that God created us, but rather, that God is creating us.

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

Part 2 of 2

Ephesians

“But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’  And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.”  (Ephesians 5: 21 – 20)

This an interesting experience.  The man was relieved of the evil spirits that possessed him.  He then asked Jesus if he could join the group.  Jesus said “no.” Perhaps there are several reasons for Jesus denying him the privilege of joining the group. Let’s look at a couple of them.

None of the men who followed Jesus were people who were healed of anything. Also, all of the apostles were Israelites.  Maybe a healed Gentile could be better used among the Gentiles proclaiming the mercy and goodness of God. Maybe this healed man would never turn away from Jesus if Jesus allowed him to follow.  This could be problematic if Jesus fully intends to be arrested without injury to those who followed him. No, Jesus needed those sheep who would flee when the Shepherd was struck.

The whole point of this lesson is that when we are thankful to God for what God has done and is doing for us, we don’t have to fit in.  We can go among those who thought they knew us and show them the change, the improvement God has made, and is making in us.

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

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