As we practice the disciplines of submission and serving, we are freed from the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way, and we find the freedom to value and serve others.
I wondered how hungry the man was to steal an egg salad sandwich from a convenience store. I also wondered how he would have reacted to the customer’s kindness. He left without knowing his debt was paid. He was free to go. The food belonged to him.
There is a moment you stand on the brink, or the brink stands on you. The inexorable draw pulls you in, like gravity, like…
Jesus drew her out, asked her to tell her story. To speak words aloud, to share them with the crowd, to scatter her words like seeds.
Weeding and praying go hand in hand. I tug and clear and get dirty and think and talk to God and process my thoughts and feelings and listen to the birds and untangle morning glories. And God weeds my soul and cultivates my soil and could, like in the cemetery Easter morning, be mistaken for a gardener.
Today we encounter two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus, who have chosen to believe what Paul has taught them about joy. They don’t just believe it, they are putting into action the things they’ve learned. Their stories serve as perfect examples of how serving well leads to joy.
In this mysterious moment, known to history as “the Transfiguration,” Jesus reveals to the disciples his true nature. And to their shock, his true nature is the glory of God shining from his face. Present with the disciples, and beholding the same incredible sight, is Moses, the prophet who had asked on Mt. Sinai to see God’s glory. Only now, on Mt. Tabor, does he get what he hoped for. Only in Jesus does he see God face to face.
We can’t run
from this. No matter how powerful, wealthy, famous, or holy we are, we are ashes. No matter how great of an influencer on social media we are, we are
ashes. No matter how big a church we are part of, we are ashes. We are ashes. We are broken. We are sinful.
This realization of brokenness is one of the greatest gifts we can ever receive.
As recently as 1941 the President wore a black arm band when his mother died. What is this impulse for a mark of sorrow, grief, repentance, confession? Why are strangers at train stations asking for this? In our culture that let black arm bands of mourning drift down to the floor, an old practice, a dated practice to be left by the wayside?
When Joseph has the opportunity to look back over all he had been through, his summary comment was, “God meant it for good.”