Monday, October 05, 2009

The two edged sword

Do we believe that God honours the promises made to us in the Scriptures? The idea that the Word of God cuts us to the very core is a powerful and active connection with the God who does what he promises.
Job 23:1-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31
Readings for Sunday 11th October 2009, Pentecost 19, Proper 28

There is much that we would ask God if we had the opportunity
more of that shortly....
We are not terribly familiar with swords in practice
so when we read about the two edged sword
we need to understand that it is a highly toned weapon.
It cuts going in and it cuts coming out.
It pierces and and it disects.
It set out to do what it says.
The writer to the Hebrews likens the active of word of God to such a weapon.
It achieves what it sets out to do.
In short God will do for us everything that God promises to do.
If you begin to recite all the promises that you remember...and they are many
Some of mine are:
Come to me and I will give you rest
I will make all things new
I am with you always, even to the end of the age
Whether we live or whether we die we are the Lord's
I will send my Comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with you
In the valley of the shadow of death I am with you, my rod and staff protect you .......and so I could go on,
you can think of your own
If we allow them to these words cut us to the very core
they do what they set out achieve.
Sometimes this is surprising,
we don't always know
what we are asking for.
Like Job, the realisation that God is acting
and acting powerfully,
can be terrifying
St Ignatius Loyola tells us that
most of us have no idea what God will do for us
if only we would let him.
When we, however tentatively, permit God to act
(remember God will not overpower us...see last week)
then God can and will move effectively to achieve what he promises.

There is an example in this Gospel reading we have this week (Mark 10:17-29)
the man comes seeking eternal life.
He is intelligent and religious, and he can ask and answer the right questions.
He is seduced by Jesus's clarity of thought:
But, he asks "What else must I do?"
So Jesus tells him...Young man, for you the attachment to material goods gets in your way,
He knows he has heard the right answer
and he doesn't like it.
Even Jesus's disciples are shocked.

What about me? It isn't fair!
What question do I really want to ask Jesus?
I actually want to encourage you to ask it.
More than that I want you to try and listen to the answer.
This is not always easy
We don't easily receive what we don't like to hear.
Are you concerned about why you can't love better?
Do you wonder why those who you want to love seem distant and remote?
Why is my life so boring?
Why can't I make sense of what is happening?
What is your question?
like the young man
the questions seem innocent and easy enough
but if we really want to hear the Word of God
then expect the two edged sword.

We don't need to fear.
But it may not,
and indeed probably won't
be easy.

This week
Take a little time
to reflect on what you would ask Jesus if he were with you.
Then remember that He is!
Do you want to have the conversation?
In the quietness speak gently with him,
and listen to what he says
and how he speaks.
We need not fear.
It won't be easy
but it will be good.

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