Good morning. It is pre-Friday, October 2, 2014.
Today is Name Your Car Day. Seriously. Have you ever thought about naming your car? My Lexus RX, that I traded in for my Hyundai Sonata, was named “Serenity.” My Hyundai Sonata is named Amadeus.
Pittsburgh decided not to show up for their Wild Card game last night, and lost 8-0 to the Giants. Kansas City won a nail-biter Tuesday night, 9-8 in 12 innings. Now, that’s a game! Kansas City plays the Angels tonight, while Detroit plays Baltimore this afternoon. I’m rooting for KC and Baltimore. I don’t care who wins the NL series.
Nothing much really going on around here. Christi is having dinner with some old work friends tonight, so Stephanie and I will be on our own for dinner. I’m guessing Sonic will be involved.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(From The Divine Hours)
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Today’s Gospel Reading
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Matthew’s version of this event is slightly different than Mark’s and Luke’s. Matthew tells us that there were two demon possessed (or possibly oppressed) men, rather than only one, as reported by Mark and Luke. The Reformation Study Bible notes opine that perhaps only one of the men was particularly violent, which may be why Luke and Mark only report one. Bottom line is, there really is no explanation for the difference.
Also of interest is the single word of Jesus in the entire event. “Go.” And that was all it took. A mere single-syllable word has that much impact on the demons of darkness. How much more should we heed his words? If you remember, the very reason that I have begun this regular reading of the Gospels is the words of the Father immediately following the transfiguration in Luke 9:35. “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Snare of Spiritualism.”
As we consider the temptations of Jesus, they all seem to relate to spiritualism. In the first one, Satan appeals to Jesus’s divinity. Consider the serpent’s empty promise to Eve, as he said, “You will be like God.” One of his major ploys is to “stress our spiritual strength, our divine character.”
Consider the ill-advised attempts of many people to escape the true reality of our humanity. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. These are attempts to escape that which is real, to soar above the curse of humanity by escaping the poverty, loneliness, and frustration that are so much a part of the human condition.” Even intellectual pride can fit into the same category (without, of course, the physical damage to the body). “I attempt to bridge the vast gulf that separates creature from Creator by disavowing my limited, finite intelligence, and I take myself so seriously that I feel superior to others. I presume that I am more important in the eyes of God than the brother who cooks in the kitchen.” Satan stresses our “charismatic gifts,” and we become entrapped in spiritualism.
For all that is in the world—
the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—
is not from the Father but is from the world.
1 John 2:16
Father, I pray that I not fall into this trap of spiritualism. Let me not believe that I am more important than anyone in your Kingdom (or the rest of the world, for that matter), as your Word admonishes me to do the exactly the opposite and consider others to be more important than myself. You have protected me from alcoholism and drugs, but I have my own vices that have endangered my life and health over the years, so I need feel no pride over those who have fallen into those traps. You have saved me and my life, Father, through the blood of Christ. Help me to stay on the path and never forsake the truth that I am human and fallen. I would be worth nothing, were it not for your hand on my life. May the lust, the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life hold no sway over me, Father!
I pray for this day, that our travel time would be safe. May our work day go smoothly today, and may Christi have a good time of fellowship with her friends over dinner tonight. May their breaking of bread be glorifying to you, and may she have the ability to share the Kingdom in whatever way she can. I pray for Stephanie today, that you keep her close to your heart and show your great love to her.
Your grace is sufficient.
Grace and peace, friends.