Pondering for Friday July 19, 2019

Daily Office Readings for Friday Proper 10 of Year 1

AM Psalm 31; PM Psalm 351 Samuel 21:1-15, Acts 13:13-25; Mark 3:7-19a

“He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him.  And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons.”  (Mark 3:13 – 15)

There are a couple of things here to notice.

 First, Jesus called those whom he wanted and these were called his disciples.  From this gathering he called the twelve. These twelve are further the named “apostles.”  They are called apostles because they are “sent out” to proclaim the message of the kingdom of God, and to have authority to cast out demons or any kind of sickness.

Second, these twelve apostles are divided up into pairs. They go out partnered. Interestingly Jesus picks brothers (James and John; and Simon and Andrew) who already have a bonded relationship as a pattern of the love such paired persons should have for one another. I think this is a very important concept that may be over looked.

I have noticed how Jehovah Witnesses as well as Mormons who go out in pairs (this latter on their bicycles) to visit households.  And in a lighter observation, as a Star Wars enthusiast myself, I notice the Jedi tend travel in pairs as they go to negotiate with other governing authorities.  Although this latter is totally fiction, the idea, it can be argued, comes from established biblical patterns.

There are many such biblical patterns like, Adam and Eve; Moses and Aaron; Naomi and Ruth; Elijah and Elisha; the two on the road to Emmaus from the Gospel of Luke, and Paul and various others of the New Testament.  The pattern of these biblical stories shows how we can advance our call to be who God wants us to be by partnering with a prayer partner.

“Prayer Partner” is the term we use in our Cursillo Movement in the Diocese of East Carolina to designate how Team Members are yoked together for the purpose of praying for pilgrims and persons who are giving talks.  I like the term.  Maybe before we partner for the purpose of even marriage we should first become prayer partners.  There could be a strong argument that if we can’t pray together we can’t stay together.  There is a beautiful prayer in the Apocrypha of the Bible, in Tobit, where Tobias and Sarah are about to be married and make vows to each other.  In fact, it is the only place in our Holy Writings where we actually have wedding vows. (Tobit 8:4 – 8)

Prayer Partners don’t have to be married.  But they should have at least a similar understanding of who Jesus is in their lives.  The prayer part itself does not have to be something said out loud but understood to be sacred and binding for both. Something in a relationship should be bigger than both in the relationship. This relationship is spiritual not sexual but does not exclude sex as something negative.  It is wholly human and holy divine.

It is one thing to be a student or disciple where we are learning only.  It is something totally more advanced to be entrusted to be apostolic, “sent out” to proclaim the message.

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

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