Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 10: Year 2
Psalm 26, 28; Psalm 36, 39; Joshua 2:15 – 24; Romans 11:13 – 24; Matthew 25: 14 – 30
“Do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness towards you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11: 18 – 22)
I can remember telling a priest who was, and is, a dear friend of mine, that I identify myself by the Church to which I belong. I told him, and still maintain, that I don’t care about being black, or male, or straight, or American. I am Anglican! It has been a long process but one that redefined me for who I truly am in Christ Jesus.
Paul’s metaphor of the root, the trunk or a tree and its branches, natural and grafted, really clarify for me my own “grafted” status. I was not really brought up in any particular religious faith tradition. I did attend a Catholic school which formed a deep spirituality in me. Little did I know in the mid 1950’s that the Episcopal Church would pick up where St Vincent left off and graft me into its organic system. Paul is so correct when he says; “it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.”
Perhaps some of us are who we were brought up to be, not me. I am who God, through those who God put in my path, is making me to be. I have been grafted into the Episcopal Church. And I am so thankful. So I don’t identify as black or male or straight or American (unless any of these are mandatory for some kind of registration, of which, I have no choice). It is good for me to not place importance on such surface identities, and I am comfortable in my own skin no matter it’s color.
It is also good to know that I should be eternally grateful for being grafted, by the grace of God, into a faith that was also grafted into the historic Israelite tradition which had its birth in Abraham. I, we, then, are a thankful people, or we should be. God is always making all things new. Halleluiah.
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