Jan 21, 2011 - Friday Meditation (You are Called! Accept His invitation!)
Jesus' call looks different in different people's lives, but I believe that one way or another it involves dining with and caring for the poor and marginalized, loving, forgiving, healing, welcoming the stranger and the migrant, and tirelessly working for peace and justice. Jesus, help us to hear your call. Grant us the courage to accept your invitation to join you in your mission despite the potential danger and controversy. Memorial of St. Agnes Hebrews 8:6-13 Psalm 85:8, 10, 11-12, 13-14 Mark 3:13-19 And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. 4 And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons: 16 Simon whom he surnamed Peter; 17 James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder; 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Then he went home. Meditation by Ken Reed-Bouley "He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons." Calling, appointing, naming the 12 Apostles. No small moment in Christian church history. What would it have been like to be called as an Apostle? Would we have had the courage to accept Jesus' call, appointment, and mission? Do we have the courage to be disciples today? Mark's gospel makes it clear immediately before the naming of the Apostles that Jesus has stirred serious controversy by forgiving the sins of a paralytic man, dining with tax collectors and sinners, and healing a man's withered hand on the Sabbath. The controversy has grown so strong that immediately after naming the Apostles, Jesus' own family thinks he is "out of his mind" and scribes from Jerusalem (presumably sent by official religious authorities to investigate this potentially threatening person) have concluded that Jesus is "possessed by Beelzebub" and drives out demons by the authority of the Devil. By accepting their appointment and mission to preach and drive out demons like Jesus, the Apostles will be labeled as controversial and dangerous like their leader. What demons would Jesus be driving out today? Whom would he be healing? With whom would he be eating? About what would he be preaching? What authorities would think he was mentally ill, threatening, or evil? Would I have the courage and faith to follow such a man when he called? Of course, Jesus is calling each of us every day. We need to discern in our lives what that call is and if we are truly willing to accept it. Jesus' call looks different in different people's lives, but I believe that one way or another it involves dining with and caring for the poor and marginalized, loving, forgiving, healing, welcoming the stranger and the migrant, and tirelessly working for peace and justice. Jesus, help us to hear your call. Grant us the courage to accept your invitation to join you in your mission despite the potential danger and controversy. Supplementary Reading No Limits "Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you." -1 Chronicles 22:16 Limits are self-imposed! And just in case you missed that very important first sentence, here it is again: Limits are self-imposed! Throughout your life, you have trained your mind to believe in limitations. Throughout your life, you have been trained by a parent or parents to believe in limitations. Society has clobbered you over the head one too many times to make sure that you believe there are limitations. Your friends, as well meaning as I'm sure they are, have gently whispered in your ear that there are limitations. You could fail, they all say. You'll never pull that one off, they all say. The odds are stacked against your dream, you'll often hear. My friends, stop and listen to what God is saying to you! Philippians 4:13: "You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." Matthew 5:13-14: "You are the salt of the earth" and "You are the light of the world!" And I love our scripture reading from 1 Chronicles 22:16, a verse often overlooked when thinking about how incredibly God provides for those who diligently seek Him. In 1 Chronicles 22, David is preparing to build God's temple. In the preceding verses, God declares to David the abundance of resources He is making available. "Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit..." Yet, what is so important is the last part of the verse: "Arise and begin working!" God did not promise that building the temple would be a cakewalk and accomplished without hard work and sweat. What God said was to look to Him to open doors, rely on Him to lead you, rely on Him to provide for you. As for you, do your part! "Arise and begin working!" What glorious God-given dreams YOU CAN accomplish! "Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you!" Heavenly Father, how graciously You provide for all my needs. Today I praise Your name and declare now that I will look to You first and foremost for all my provision. Let every open door be the result of Your loving hand. Let every path I walk be from Your wise leading. Let every dream I dream come only and directly from You. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. - Jim Penner
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