Pondering for Thursday November 21, 2019

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 28 Year 1

AM Psalm 105:1-22; PM Psalm 105:23-45 1 Macc. 4:1-25; Rev. 21:22-22:5; Matt. 18:1- 9

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ (Matthew 18:1)

Ok, I give up.  I have heard that there is no such thing as a dumb question.  But I take exception to this one. Wouldn’t it be enough just to be in heaven, even if on the lowest echelon?

Why are we always concerned about who is the greatest in any category?  I can remember that Mohammed Ali once declared that he was “The Greatest (Boxer) of all Times.”  His was a self-declaration. And maybe his observations of his own accomplishments, that he had already achieved, are different from a goal oriented aspiration sought after. If one just happens to be, then, so be it. Perhaps he didn’t strive for it, it just happened.

The truth is we don’t have to be the greatest, just being good at something, is good enough. This is especially true for being good at just being good. This is why I like the Christmas song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” as it goes, “so be good for goodness sake.”  I like these words because it has a high moral quality that frees itself from any overt religious attachment.  We are to be good for the sole purpose of just being good; not the greatest, but good.

Jesus shows that true greatness is embedded in trust and vulnerability as he demonstrates this with a child; “and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)  While Jesus will use the “greatest” language in the next verse, in this verse he is just talking about getting in the kingdom of heaven, not being the greatest there, but being present there.  Personally, I would be happy just to get in. Thank You Jesus.

Trust and vulnerability are scary propositions for most of us. Perhaps it might be a good idea to start even a short list of people you know that you feel you can both trust and be vulnerable with. As I type this reflection certain people come to mind.  How about you? How many people can you be like a trusting child with?

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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