Pondering for Thursday, February 2, 2023

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 4th Week of Epiphany: Year 1

Morning,  Psalm 71; Evening, Psalm 74;
Isaiah 55:1to13Galatians 5:1to15Mark 8:27to9:1

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

The whole issue of circumcision, or the elimination of it, breaks the gender barrier. With this requirement of the Law removed, women can now be recognized as full Apostles and Disciples of Christ Jesus.  Who knows, maybe a woman will one day be the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in a place called the United States of America!  (Katharine Jefferts Schori: Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church from November 4, 2006 to November 1, 2015) Thank you Lord Jesus and St. Paul.

Paul goes on to say that the only thing that counts is faith working through love. This sounds like our current Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry. Curry constantly preaches the importance of love.  This was observed on the world stage during the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on “the redemptive power of love.”  Maybe Paul was ahead of his time and was the prototype Episcopalian?  Just kidding. I don’t know whether it is faith working through love as Paul suggests; or perhaps love working  through faith, as we love God and then love our neighbor.  I’m still pondering on this one.  We need both.  One of these trying to work without the other is useless. I find that faith expressed and made manifest through acts of love, best shows our allegiance to God. I do believe we learn about love through family before our family teaches us about God. But then, who’s to say how much the Spirit is already at work in our souls before we ever get the first human word about God? Maybe the Spirit prepares a space in our souls for when the word comes?  I’m still pondering on this; join me in this adventure.

Today is the Day we remember the Annunciation of our Lord Jesus at the Temple.

The birth of our Lord Jesus was, and is, also life changing and picks up from the Temple in Jerusalem at his Annunciation, the Purification for the price of two doves. They were poor. From the Gospel of Luke we read: “When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him,” (Luke 2:39 and 40). Mary and Joseph had made their trip to the Temple in Jerusalem for the Presentation of their child as was the requirement of the Law of Moses, the fulfillment of the Law. There they met Simeon and Anna, the full representation of the Law (Simeon), and the prophets (Anna). And, then they went back to Galilee for God was now doing something new and changing humanity forever!

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine.

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

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