Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 102; 148, Isaiah 7:10-25, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5, Luke 22:14-30
A continental divide is a geological boundary which, simply put, separates rivers and streams draining toward one body of water from those draining into another. For example, the North American Great Continental Divide roughly marks the border between rivers flowing east toward the Atlantic Ocean and rivers flowing west toward the Pacific Ocean. “Going with the flow” has a different meaning on each side of the divide. If you want to navigate waterways successfully, you need to know where the divide lies.
To successfully navigate a spiritual life it might help to think of it as having a similar divide, but instead of East versus West, it’s more internal versus external. When facing the internal – that is, ourselves and the things we can control – we try to be objective critics of our own attitudes and behaviors. We progress by identifying where and how we can change, and accepting God’s grace and mercy to help us do so. When we are facing the external – that is, other people and the world beyond our control – we instead need to reflect God’s grace and mercy, and withhold judgment.
Even at the first communion table that was the Last Supper, Christ’s followers tended to get this backward.
After Jesus revealed the one who would betray him was at the table, but didn’t name a name, did any of them focus inward and ask “Could it be me? Why or why not?” No, they started trying to figure out who it was. This curiosity is natural, but if Jesus didn’t identify Judas, why did the disciples seek the right to condemn him?
After only a short time, the conversation devolved into an argument over who among them was the greatest. We don’t get details, but judging from Jesus’s reaction, nobody was arguing “No, I’m nothing; you’re the greatest.” The external focus was on dominating others rather than elevating them.
Jesus offers us rivers of living water (John 7:38). The world teaches us to climb over others to head upstream, but if we surrender to them, they will carry our faith where it needs to be.
Comfort: You are both the recipient of grace, and its reflection in the world.
Challenge: Though it’s almost cliched, be the change you want to see in the world.
Prayer: God of grace and mercy, I rely on you for all things in my life, and will share all things from you in the lives of others. Amen.
Discussion: Do you have any tendency to impose your faith on others when you should be asking questions of yourself?
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