Pondering for Saturday, May 16, 2020

Daily Office Readings for Saturday after the 5th Sunday of Easter: Year 2

Psalm 75, 76; Psalm 23, 27; Lev. 23:23-44; 2 Thess. 3:1-18; Matt. 7:13-21

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it.  For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Matthew 7:13- 14)

I often remind my congregation that Christianity is not for the faint of heart.  It’s hard work.  If you have ever been in line to get through a narrow door, or even in heavy traffic where one lane is closed and drivers must merge into a single lane, you have some idea about the need for patience.  Also, the road is difficult.  Christians must undergo some uncomfortable experiences.

We are being downsized as we assemble due to COVID 19.  Many Christians of “Mega” churches don’t like it. Full disclosure, neither do I.  However in the beginning of the Jesus Movement, we assembled in the homes of believers.  We were small groups around a table. We may be back to that now.  Those who brought the Word, themselves worked jobs only to show that they were not trying to profit from the Gospel, rather, they were prophets of the Gospel.

In our 2nd  Thessalonians reading for today we read, “For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you,  and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.  For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.”  (2 Thessalonians 3: 7 – 10)

I am one of those clergy who truly believes that I should have a regular job as I study and prepare to preach the Gospel.  Not a lot of Clergy agree with me, and that’s fine.  In my way of understanding the clergy role it should be the bishop whose sole focus should be his or her diocese. The argument will be raised, “who wants to go to three years o seminary only to work part-time.”  Our  Gospel reading says, “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Over the years I have learned that all believers are theologians at some level. First we believe. As we believe, we try to respond in prayer and study.  Some people say that they are “Spiritual” and not religious.  And there are some who say they are “Religious” who live alone and live the monastic life.  Sometimes labels are just a method of splitting hairs.  Our life as believers comes down to believing, praying and following God’s lead even through the narrow door, over the hard roads, while supporting ourselves and others.

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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