Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning from the Edge

Monday, June 10, 2013 -- Week of Proper 5, Year One
Ephrem of Edessa, Deacon, 373

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

[Note:  I'll be suspending writing Morning Reflections in the near future.  I've been doing these for almost ten years, and it's time for a break.  It seems that this early-morning time of writing is also the time when my 2-year old granddaughter most needs my attention.  I need to take up that wonderful opportunity.  As soon as the Speaking to the Soul blog on Episcopal Cafe finds my replacement, I'll suspend the Morning Reflections emails, podcast and blog.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 968
Psalms 56, 57, [58] (morning)      //     64, 65 (evening)
Deuteronomy 30:1-10      
2 Corinthians 10:1-18      
Luke 18:31-43

Learning from the edge.

The inner circle didn't understand.  Maybe they were too close.  But when Jesus took the twelve aside and tried to explain to them the most important aspect of his calling and mission, they didn't get it.  The description in Luke's gospel emphasizes the problem by stating it three ways -- "But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said."  (Luke 18:34)

But from the edge comes another voice.  "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  He uses a royal title to address Jesus.  The inner circle tries to quiet him.  What could he know?  He's causing a disturbance.  Who does he think he is?  He's blind, after all.

But he persists to cause a commotion from the outside, demanding attention.  And Jesus stops everything to hear him out.  One of the prophetic signs of the coming of God's reign is that the eyes of the blind shall be opened, according to Isaiah.  Jesus brings this outsider in from the edge and heals his sight with those enigmatic words, "Your faith has saved you."  And the blind man follows Jesus on this road toward the cross.

Luke's implication -- the blind see and those who think they can see, those disciples in the inner circle, can be blind. 

I have a friend, Tracey Lind, who has always exercised her priesthood by searching for the edge, to discover what God is doing "out there."  In an inner city parish in New Jersey she established a vibrant ministry among undocumented workers from Central America and the Caribbean.  We were at a church event when I first met her.  She looked at my name tag -- "Lowell Grisham -- Fort Smith, Arkansas."  "Well, Lowell, where is the EDGE in Fort Smith, Arkansas?" she asked.  I thought about it for a moment.  Fort Smith seemed such a conventional town.  My ministry there seemed so conventional.  "Well, Tracy, there is no edge in Fort Smith, Arkansas."  I was blind, of course.  But we became good friends, and she helped me open my eyes just a bit to see the work of God at the edge -- so richly evident yet so easily missed by those of us in inner circles.  [p.s. -- Here's a link to Tracey's blog]

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

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

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location

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

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


At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Lowell. I'm not as sad as I could be about your announcement today. I have all the many "Morning Reflections" that you've given us over the years, many of which I can continue to glean so much more from. And, I commend you for knowing when it's time for you to make a change. Too often, we continue doing something past when it feels really right. And when we have the courage to change, it opens up new and exciting possibilities, like playing with a 2 year old who will be shaped by her grandad's caring. You've certainly helped shape a lot of us and will continue to do that.

Peace and Hope, Caroline


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