Friday, March 26, 2010

The Way

Friday, March 26, 2010 -- Week of 5 Lent, Year Two
Richard Allen, First Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1831

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 957)
Psalms 95* & 22 (morning)       141, 143:1-11(12) (evening)
Exodus 9:13-35
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 
Mark 10:32-45                           *for the Invitatory

As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, he tells the disciples of the passion that lies ahead.  Their reaction is to argue about position and power.  They hear the businesses about glory, but not about suffering.  Jesus redirects them to a path of servanthood, open to suffering, rather than a path of glory, addicted to power.

Paul is having a similar misunderstanding with his church in Corinth.  They are into the glory.  They like having power and comforts.  But that's not the right focus, Paul tells them. 

He knows the light, but it is not his own, it is Christ's light.  He speaks confidently of the "light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God," but Paul claims to have this treasure himself only "in clay jars." 

Then he accepts the deep truth:  Life is difficult.  Life is difficult, but "power belongs to God" and is given to us as the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So Paul describes how this works in his life.  "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies." 

How different is Paul's gospel from the myth that our advertisements sell us about "The Good Life."  How different is Paul's gospel from the lightweight easy-Christian gospels that abound in Christianity, not just in Joel Osteen's church but in ours as well. 

Like Jesus, Paul points to the journey that is the path of service.  "For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus sake."

Only one who is confident in a power and glory beyond oneself can live with such trust and self-abandonment into service.  That is the path Jesus and Paul invite us to walk.

Lowell

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Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
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

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

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

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

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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