Monday, October 26, 2015

My brother or sister or mother.

Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  Matthew 12:48b-50

I know that Jesus was not rejecting his family with this statement.  At the same time, I do believe that he was offering hope to those who are alone.  When family systems break down, regardless of the reason, God provides an alternative for us.  There are people in this world who find their hearts going out to those who have been abandoned.  These are the people that God has called to be family to those around them.

One of the greatest gifts I have learned in this life, is that I don't have to do it all myself.  But I do have to remain open to God's call to reach out at those times when I am the tool God chooses to use in a given situation.  I have to recognize those times when I can be mother, or sister, or friend to the person God places in my presence.  God, who would you have me reach out to today?

** The Rev, Dr, Rhoda Swanner Montgomery, rector of St Thomas in College Station died yesterday. May the Lord bring her into the greater family of his presence as he comforts those left behind.  Rhoda was a year behind me in seminary.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Our churches reflect us, and hopefully, Christ

Jesus said, "How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Matthew 12:34b-37

Jesus was talking to the scribes and pharisees who were looking for reasons to denounce him and had accused him of casting out demons by means of Beelzebul. Our churches today are sometimes faced with this same kind of vindictiveness.  I remember the first vestry meeting I ever attended as an ordained person: I sat in wonder at how a person who had listened to the gospel that morning could utter the things that came out of her mouth - totally contrary to the message of our Saviour.  What was she thinking?  She was so into her own agenda that she totally forgot we were a church that claims to follow the teachings of Christ.  Our churches should always reflect, not us, but the Christ we follow.

When problems arise in our churches today, are we part of the solution?  Or do we contribute to the problem?  Some day we will all stand before God and we will have to give an accounting of our actions.  Are mine always good and right?  No. I can get as incensed as any one else at the injustice I see. I often have to remind myself that Jesus is my model.  I try to remember that he is my savior, and not I myself.  And I try to remember that Jesus calls me to try to work with those whom I disagree with so that in the end, His glory will be seen by all.  He calls us all to that kind of examination of conscience: that the things we do reflect His place in our lives.