Pondering for Friday, June 14, 2019

Daily Office Readings for June 14, 2019 Year 1

AM Psalm 69:1-23(24-30)31-38; PM Psalm 73 Ecclus. 45:6-16; 2 Cor. 12:11-21; Luke 19:41-48

“Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.” (Luke 19:47 – 48)

If ever we find ourselves wanting people who are different than ourselves or, who worship in a different way, to die, we should examine ourselves.  The regular people found Jesus fascinating (spellbound) while the rulers found him to be the competition.

We do not compete for the love of God.  God’s love is not a limited resource.  There is no need to feel like we have to “win- over” people so that they will worship God the way we do.  Sometimes, if we listen to God speak in our hearts, we will hear the truth.  Then when we hear it from the lips of others it will resonate with us in ways that demonstrate that it is from God, not just the people we heard it from.

The vindictive and vicious actions we hear from the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people are what happens when we feel we have a monopoly on God.

We Christians, along with other monotheistic faiths have a bloody trail of sin when it comes to making people worship “our” way.  I heard a very good expression the other night; the speaker was giving a presentation about faith and what we too often expect of others and their faith.  He said,( and I’m paraphrasing here) “it’s either our way or Yahweh!”  I’m going for Yahweh.  I can remember participating in the Liberation of Kuwait in January of 1991.  I was in Saudi Arabia.  We saw on the TV that someone told then President Bush (41) that he hoped God was on our side.  The President responded, “I hope we are on God’s side.” That stuck with me as the way it should be. This is not my way or your way but Yahweh.

We are here at the pleasure of God.  And God is doing a lot for us, all of us. This is the message that Jesus was giving to the people saying things like “love everybody”, and “the Sabbath is made for us, not us for the Sabbath,” and so on.  These are the kind of words that had the people spellbound.  All this is aside from his healing and casting out demons (the Sabbath or not).  

Human religious authorities would lose some of their prestige and power if people knew that they could relate straight to God without them.  Oh, they (we) still need to be in community. Jesus was not trying to end the need for us to come together.  The prophets of scripture calls us together but we must understand, “So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2nd Peter 1:19-21 NRSV)

So according to St Peter, it is not ourselves who know the will of God but God alone speaking through the Holy Spirit.  Any religion that tries to dictate how people worship instead of surrendering to the loving will of God, worships itself and not God. If a religion thinks they know what God wants in every circumstance, that religion is misguided.  St James says, “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:26-27)

So looking for a way to kill anyone is unreligious and wrong, but more especially if it’s Jesus they are trying to kill.  But as I have said, the history of our own church is marred with hate events for other Christians who differed from us. We are all God’s through a loving Jesus. We are called to love others, be they Christian, or not.  We need to let love rule. It’s the only Way, It’s Yahweh.

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

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