Good morning. Happy Friday!! It is Friday, November 21, 2014.
Did you know that there is a company called Heavens Above Fireworks, that will put the ashes of your loved ones in a fireworks display? So you can “go out with a bang!”
Today is World Hello Day. Formed in 1973, this day is supposed to set forth the idea that “clear, honest communication breeds peace.” So let your “hellos” ring loud and clear today. Unless you’re at Texas A&M, in which case, it’s “Howdy!”
Christi’s evening at Huddle apparently went pretty well. We didn’t discuss a lot of detail about it, but she said it was a good night. I picked up some BBQ on the way home, so we had time to have dinner before she left.
The work day, yesterday, fit right in with the rest of the week. There was plenty to do, but we weren’t buried, and finished most of it by quitting time.
Christi has jury duty this today, so she’s sleeping in. I kept forgetting about this, but she doesn’t have to be there until 9:30! Nice for her . . . although I’m sure she will miss her work people, this morning. Jury duty is one of those annoying, yet necessary things in life.
We don’t have any plans for tonight, but tomorrow will be our usual church evening. I’ve missed two weeks in a row, so it will be nice to be back. Sunday, Rachel and Justin are supposed to come over for lunch and afternoon games or whatever. And, of course, next week is Thanksgiving in the U.S., so it will be a short work week. We’ll be having two Thanksgiving lunches, one at home with Christi’s family, and then we will take another over to my parents on Friday. Our church is having a Thanksgiving dinner Saturday, right after our worship service. Needless to say, all diets are off next week.
(From The Divine Hours)
Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD,
who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God!
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.
Today’s Gospel Reading
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
What is the “this” that is referred to in the first phrase? “Now when Jesus heard this . . . ” Initially, I thought it was about the death of his cousin, John. But if you go back and read the first two verses of the chapter, it seems to refer to Herod’s sudden interest in Jesus, thinking that he is John the Baptist, raised from the dead. Herod’s guilt seemed to be getting the best of him. The remainder of the first 12 verses of the chapter are a flashback to when Herod had John put to death. I’m not sure why this knowledge drove Jesus into a desolate place.
I want to key in on one phrase that Jesus said in this passage. I may be making too much of this, but I don’t think so. When the disciples were taking inventory of what food was available to feed this huge mass of people, they found that they had only five loaves and two fish. “Bring them here to me,” said Jesus. The main purpose of my reading through the Gospels the way I am, has to do with Luke 9:35, which says, And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” I am trying to do just that; listen to Jesus. In verse 18 of today’s passage, Jesus says, “Bring them here to me.” Bring what? In that case, it was five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. In my case, today, it is whatever I have that Jesus might be able to bless and “feed the masses” with. The point is, to me, that, no matter how small our offering is, no matter how minuscule we believe our talent to be, if we would simply “bring them here to” Jesus, he would say a blessing over them and then hand them back to us, that we might “feed” the multitudes. Am I reaching, here? I don’t think so.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Growing A Kingdom.”
Jesus explains about the Kingdom: It begins small, like a mustard seed. It takes time to grow. He compares it to a farmer who plants seed and leaves it. Later, the seed grows and sprouts. If you ask the farmer what he does between planting and harvest, chances are, his answer will be, “Nothin’! It grows by itself!”
The Kingdom of God will grow by itself. “What the father planted will be harvested, and nothing will get in the way. Not heresies, schisms, ecclesiastical blunders, defections, moral failures; not if the budget isn’t balanced; not if I can’t find a way to end this book; not persecutions or nuclear holocausts–nothing will obstruct the coming of the Kingdom.” These are exciting words! You see, our efforts (or lack thereof) don’t have a lot of effect on the success of the Kingdom. God’s Kingdom will come. We can have a small part in this, simply by doing what he tells us to do. But even if we don’t do what he tells us to do, his Kingdom is still going to come. It is I who will miss out if I do not fulfill my part in it. God is working his purpose out, and that purpose will not be thwarted.
“And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.'”
Father, I pray this morning, that I would be faithful to take the gifts that you have given me, hand them to Jesus, that he might bless them and hand them back to me, that I might, in turn, “feed” the multitudes. This is my small part of bringing your Kingdom to earth, as it is in heaven. I understand that this Kingdom will arrive with or without me, and my heart’s desire is to have a part in it. So I pray that my blunders and failures will be overcome as I move forward in your Kingdom. You have given me a part, and I pray that I will fulfill that part, by the power of your Spirit within me.
I pray for this day, that we will have safe passage to and from our responsibilities. I pray that Christi’s day at the courts will be not terribly boring, and that she might have a part in the judicial system today. Give her wisdom, in the case that she is part of any decision-making, that she would be sharp and focused on the details that are presented. May she also have wisdom in sharing your Kingdom in this process. I pray for my work day, that it will be smooth, and that we won’t get too much work to finish during this day, so that whoever has tomorrow’s shift will have an easy day. Give Stephanie wisdom and understanding, and I pray that she will spend time today, reflecting on you and the gifts that you have given her. May she bring them to Jesus, as well.
Whatever you may have (or even think you don’t have), bring it to Jesus. There’s no limit to what he can do with your talents and gifts, if you allow him to bless them.
Grace and peace, friends.