Making choices like these are spiritual. These choices go against the drive to reach for the top or have the latest. When in Jesus’ words, we start to humble ourselves, pretty soon we realize a transformation happening in our lives. Suddenly the craving to be the best, to have the most begins to diminish as we seek to serve others before ourselves. If we keep working at what Jesus said then we will find contentment that is difficult to realize if one is constantly striving to be on top.
Which was why he had no problem whatsoever in healing a woman on a day that happened to be the Sabbath. Yes, in a technical sense, you could argue that healing was doing a “work” of sorts. And so one might stretch absurdity to the point of seeing Jesus’ action as a breach of the commandment. But “absurd” would be the operative word! Jesus understood that keeping a woman in suffering was clearly NOT the purpose or intention of the Sabbath commandment. In fact, the GREAT commandment, to love God and to LOVE your NEIGHBOR as YOURSELF CLEARLY supercedes any other rule in the rulebook.
The mighty works they had already witnessed were a sign and prelude to an awesome period of shifting for humanity. So His followers should not so focus on the signs of God’s power they were seeing in Jesus that they failed to realize the meaning of those signs. The disciples should not imagine that Jesus’ mighty works were the opening stages of a straight forward march to victory. Only through death of this one individual would Israel and the world find their new life as the purifying fire of the Spirit descended.
Here at St. John we have identified the gift of gracious hospitality as an important treasure we are called to share with one another and with those who come among us seeking to have their lives transformed. The leaders of this parish made a decision to do whatever it took to be the welcoming congregation we believe God has called us to be. In order to accomplish that call, it was determined that we needed to pay attention to the place where we offer that treasure. So, we embarked on a renovation project to accomplish the call of God’s kingdom to be a welcoming place for all people. If anyone thought it was going to be easy to respond to this call, they underestimated what God is calling us to do.
Turn to page 137 in your Prayer Book. How many of you know these daily devotions? How many have ever used them? Episcopalians are invited to pray in the morning, giving thanks for safety during the night and praying for God’s presence in our lives throughout the day. At noon we pause to pray for peace and unity among ourselves as God’s people remembering the love of God for us revealed in Jesus Christ. In the early evening, we ask God to be our companion on the way and finally as night fall to guard us as we sleep. These devotions are intended, as was the Lord’s Prayer, to be a guide that encourages us to pray at all times and under all conditions.