Cathedral News, July 2, 2017

 
 
 

Last week, Deacon Chuck referenced something that I have been reflecting upon all week: the notion that Jesus in his earthly ministry shook things up as a way of manifesting his love for us. It was often in seminary that we questioned this commonly held belief of Jesus as a “nice guy”. That is not to say that Christ was not kind, loving, or compassionate. It was only to say that he was not “nice” in the same way that most grandparents are nice to their grandkids today.

Among the last of Christ’s words to his disciples during his earthly ministry, he called them friends rather than slaves. I like to think that friend for Jesus meant something big and important. A friend is not just someone who is “nice” to you, but also someone who encourages you to grow and flourish even if it means offering a little “tough love” first. That is the Jesus who speaks to us today.

Jesus, like any good teacher, is constantly challenging his disciples (that term includes us) to re-evaluate their priorities… to move things around so that everything that they do points to the coming reality of the Kingdom of God. That, of course, is an ideal that we spend a lifetime working toward, but there are concrete things that we can do here and now which move us closer to that reality.

I have said before that Summer, during ordinary time, is a good time to think about where God is calling us next. Over the rest of the Summer, Deacon Chuck and I will be making specific appeals to important ministries which have need of ministers empowered by the Spirit to do from as little as two or three hours every month, to as much as several hours each week.

In preparation for that conversation I would ask that you ask the hard questions Jesus is getting in this passage: In what ways is God calling you to participate in the work of building up the kingdom on earth? In what ways are you being called into that vision of hospitality to the stranger; be it food, clothing, or water? In what ways are you being called to minister to the needs of the “little ones”?

Despite the bad translation and the strong language regarding hate in this passage, I believe that Jesus is calling us to love more deeply those things which come from God and to dedicate ourselves more fully to the realization of God’s vision.

Read the rest of the announcements.