Pondering for Thursday, July 14, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 10: Year 2

Morning,  Psalm 37:1-18; Evening, Psalm 37:19-42 

Joshua 3:14-4:7Romans 12:1-8Matthew 26:1-16

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

I think being conformed to this world means discerning what is the mind of our peers.  With the various platforms of social media and school systems we are encouraged to be tribal, that is, only trust those who are like us, or agree with us.  The ethos is, “either you are with me or you are against me.”  There is no gray area or middle way.  God, I believe speaking through Paul, appeals to us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that [we] may discern what is the will of God.” I believe this requires a prayer that asks the question, “Dear God, what would You have me do today?”

As a Christian, I am so thankful that we had our Lord Jesus to model for us how we should live together.  Jesus could often be seen praying, and often said that he is doing the will of the Father.  This does not mean that he did not know what was the will of people also. In our Matthew reading for today we hear Jesus say exactly what the religious authorities wanted to do to him.  Jesus also knew those who loved him, like the woman who poured costly ointment on him, His disciples didn’t like it and complained that the money could have been given to the poor.  They were either jealous or just plain tribal.

“But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26: 10 – 11).  I must add Mark’s words to this scene; “And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”  (Mark 14: 9; but I don’t think the Gospel writers have done a good job of Jesus’ instruction on this matter).  Jesus set His mind on the mind of God.  He showed his disciples that there was a way to accept the woman’s deed and not be against her.  He further tells them, and us, that we will always have the poor among us.  We honor Jesus by caring for the poor. 

Every day we should ask God to show us the better way. We will always hear the way of people.  But the way of people may not be pleasing to God.  We still have Jesus with us in spirit. It doesn’t take much to ponder, “Lord Jesus lead me and guide me this day that my thoughts, words and actions may be pleasing in Your sight. Thank You Lord Jesus.

Also, let us continue to keep Ukraine in our prayers.  Prayer works, it really does.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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