Faithlife
Faithlife

Considering the Times and our response

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4 Periods —1 Theme
Revised Common Lectionary Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament Jonah 3:1–5, 10

Psalm Psalm 62:5–12

New Testament 1 Corinthians 7:29–31

Gospel Mark 1:14–20

Revised Common Lectionary Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Jonah 3:1–5, 10

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Psalm 62:5–12 ESV
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.
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Call for repentance (originally Jonah disobeyed)
1 Corinthians 7:29–31 ESV
This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
Bless with lips, but inwardly curse him (62:3-4)
Pour out your heart before him
we are but a vapor
the present world is passing away—what will you do?
The kingdom of God is at hand—Jesus is asking those who will follow, to consider the times
contrast those healed, with those who followed
contrast those who followed, with what they left behin
The present world is passing away
The kingdom of Man vs. the Kingdom of God
These scriptures invite us to consider time, our time, the times.
As much as we would like to think things are different, they are not. Sin is sin, evil is evil, wickedness is wickedness, in 2018, it’s just a different shade.
The kingdom of man has different names, players, schemes, and dominant activities
Struggles in the Bible: Cain & Abel, tower of Babel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua & Isreal, Judges, Samuel, Kings & prophets, Jesus, the disciples
Cain & Abel, tower of Babel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua & Isreal, Judges, Samuel, Kings & prophets, Jesus, the disciples
Empires: Egypt, Babylon, Rome, Ottoman, Charlemagne, Spain, France, Britain, Aztecs, Incas, Ming, Germany, USSR, American
These scriptures invite us to consider time, our time, the times—How shall we respond
Jonah—fasting with sackcloth and ashes (from the greatest to the least)
Psalm—Wait in Silence, lift up your gaze to God. Consider your rock & salvation, pour out your heart to God, Selah!
1 Corinthians—Words of St. Ignatius is very applicable here: Holy Indifference: “a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for which we have been created.”
“a complete indifference with regard to all created things, not preferring health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, long life to a short one. We wish only for those conditions that will aid our pursuit of the goal for which we have been created.”
however, you make a commitment to put your desires and preferences at the service of God...Hence, you become indifferent to length of your life and prefer first and foremost praising, loving and serving God.
The same goes for riches, honors, and privilege. You begin to evaluate all that you have received from God and to ask the question, ―What is my appropriate response?‖ Your faith might be put to the test at times and so you try to prepare yourself to respond appropriately.
In a sense, you are trying to become more open to God’s will.
Saint Ignatius suggests the notion of tantum quantum – that you use the things of this world in so far as they help you to grow in holiness. Anything that does not help you to become closer to God you should avoid (even if it seems to be something pious or good). Ultimately, if something keeps you from truly drawing closer to God, then it is not spiritually good for you. What things might you need to let go of to be closer to God? Are there any relationships that God might be inviting you to be more open to? Are there any relationships that God might be asking you to let go of because they are not healthy?
Which leads directly to the words in Mark--
leave behind whatever keeps or hinders you from following Jesus entirely:
-personally I am being asked to lead from weakness & pain
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The next few weeks I want us to begin preparing our hearts to enter into the season of Lent…one of the most potentially enriching season of the year; I would like us to also prepare for a special service that will take place on feb. 11th, the Sunday before Lent begins—a Sunday where we will be invited into renewing our commitment and covenant relationship with Christ.
I will speak further to it next week, but I hope you will take time today, this week, this month and year to listen to God more intently, to consider the time, your time, and the times—where is God at work, in us and through us? Where is he longing to go in our relationship with him, others, and our world…and can we let the savior speak to us and will we repond like the disciples, to let go of the things that hinder and move onward & upward into a greater depth of Christ centered followership...
Not expecting an answer or response this moment, but will you take the posture of the Psalmist—to wait in silence, to Selah (pause and lift up your heart)?
Let’s pray
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