Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Process

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 -- Week of Proper 13
(John Mason Neale)

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html (go to St. Paul's Home Page www.stpaulsfay.org and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (p. 978)
Psalms 78:1-39 (morning) 78:40-72 (evening)
2 Samuel 7:18-29
Acts 19:1-10
Mark 8:22-33

There are interesting developments in each of the three lessons today. Something is established, and then follows a further development which deepens or clarifies the earlier process.

In 2 Samuel we have a picture of David securely established as King in Jerusalem. He has built a house to live in and intends to build a "house" for God to live in, a Temple for the ark of the covenant. We read yesterday how Nathan dissuaded David from building God a house, but spoke in the name of the Lord that God would establish David's house forever. Today we hear David praise God in lavish thanksgiving for having brought the people to their land and having established David and his house. The building of the Temple in Jerusalem will be left for David's son to complete. The Temple will become the place of meeting between God and the people of Israel.

In Acts we read of two traditions of baptism. Earlier we met Apollos who came from Alexandria to Ephesus as an evangelist for the gospel. Apparently he was a strong defender of the conviction that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah. In Ephesus Apollos was instructed by Paul's companions Priscilla and Aquila, probably in the teaching of Paul which emphasized freedom from the law and justification by grace. Apollos then went to Corinth. We pick the story up as Paul comes to Ephesus, where he finds some of the disciples who have received a baptism of repentance, the baptism of John, but they have not received or heard of the gift of the Holy Spirit. So Paul baptizes them in the name of Jesus and lays hands on them, and they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, confirmed by the manifestation of their speaking in tongues.

In Mark we read of a two-stage healing in Bethsaida. Jesus puts saliva on a blind man's eyes and lays hands on him. The man is partially healed, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus lays his hands on him again, and the man's sight is fully restored. Immediately following, Jesus asks the disciples who people say he is. John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets, they answer. Who do you say I am? Peter says, "You are the Messiah." Peter sees. But then Jesus tells that the Son of Man must suffer. This cannot be, says Peter. Jesus rebukes him. Peter does not see.

Faith is a process. We learn and grow. God's work develops. God builds on the past and corrects.

Sometimes there are things denied one generation that are given and realized to a subsequent age. Often our spiritual development moves from a turning away in repentance into an embrace of a fuller, freer life in the Spirit. Most people experience a deeper and clearer vision as they continue in their walk with Jesus. Even when we think we know who we are and who Jesus is, our faith can be challenged when faced with trouble or threat.

No one gets everything all at once. Life and faith is always a process. We continue to have room for growth and correction. God isn't finished with us yet.

Lowell
______________________

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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
St
.
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

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