Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 15:Year 1
“Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor.’ Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, ‘You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go:” (Acts 25: 11 and 12).
Paul is not afraid of death because he believes in the resurrection. Perhaps he does not want to give his Jewish brethren the joy of killing him. He uses his Roman citizenship to appeal to the emperor and it works. Festus says, ‘You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go.’
No matter how good we might feel today, death is inevitable. It can be a matter of days, weeks, months, or years. But inevitably, we will die. Whom then do we appeal to? The final Judge is the one who gave us life in the beginning. Let us recall the words from the Gospel according to John; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” (John 1:1 to 4)
Our citizenship is with our Creator and Word through Whom all life came into being. We must know that our appeal is to our Creator. The author of life will decide our fate after death has delivered us to the Holy Presence. At least one way to sway the Creator is to be found with genuine love in our hearts. Such love cannot be faked. It must be truly genuine.
Today, August 20, we remember Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux 1153. Bernard is famous for giving a sermon that motivated Christian Knights to go and liberate and protect pathways to Jerusalem and Palestine. I think such a sermon would be helpful today for creating a pathway for Americans and loyal Afghanistan supporters to escape the horror perpetrated against them in Afghanistan. I pray for those in trouble and appeal to God for their protection and safe passage. I pray for them even in my rest.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that God had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all the work that God had done” (Genesis 2:1 and 2). So, for this evening and tomorrow day my friends, Shabbat Shalom.
Let us live to love, serve and teach, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying through the saints and to us, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John