Forty-Fifth Day of Easter   8 comments

“The Son of Man came to serve…..”

Doing the Lord’s Work

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Acts 20:17-27 (Revised English Bible):

He [Paul] did, however, send from Miletus to Ephesus and summon the elders of the church.  When they joined him, he spoke to them as follows.

You know how, from the day that I first set foot in the province of Asia, I spent my whole time with you, serving the Lord in all humility amid the sorrows and trials that came upon me through the intrigues of the Jews.  You know that I kept back nothing that was for your good:  I delivered the message to you, and taught you, in public and in your homes; with Jews and Gentiles alike I insisted on repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus.  Now, as you see, I am constrained by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.  I do not know what will befall me there, except that in city after city the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and hardships await me.  For myself, I set no store by life; all I want is to finish the race, and complete the task which the Lord Jesus assigned to me, that of bearing my testimony to the gospel of God’s grace.

One thing more:  I have gone about among you proclaiming the kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see my face again.  That being so, I here and now declare that no one’s fate can be laid at my door; I have held back nothing; I have disclosed to you the whole purpose of God.

Psalm 68:9-10, 17-20 (Revised English Bible):

You, God, send plenteous rain;

when your own land languishes you restore it.

There your people settled;

in your goodness, God, you provide for the poor.

There are myriads of God’s chariots,

thousands upon thousands,

when the Lord came in holiness from Sinai.

You went up to your dwelling-place on high

taking captives into captivity;

everyone brought you tribute;

no rebel could live in the presence of the LORD God.

Blessed is the Lord:

he carries us day by day,

God our salvation.

Our God is a God who saves;

to the LORD God belongs all escape from death.

John 17:1-11a (Anchor Bible):

After these words Jesus looked up to heaven and said:

Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you–inasmuch as you granted him power over all men that he might grant eternal life to all you have given him.  And eternal life consists in this:  that they know you, the one true God and Jesus Christ, the one whom you sent.  I glorified you on earth by completing the work you have given me to do; so now glorify me, Father, in your presence with that glory which I had with you before the world existed.  I revealed your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world.  They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they have come to know that from you comes all that you have given to me.  For the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them.  And they knew in truth that I came forth from you, and they believed that you sent me.  It is on their behalf that I pray.  I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, since they really belong to you (just as all that is mine is yours and all that is yours is mine), and it is in them that I have been glorified.  I am no longer in the world; but while I am coming to you, they are still in the world.

The Collect:

O God, by the glorification of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit you have opened for us the gates of your kingdom:  Grant that we, who have received such great gifts, may dedicate ourselves more diligently to your service, and live more fully the riches of our faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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So, what is the good news?  Jesus suffered and died partially because that was the trajectory of his life.  Paul obeyed God, knowing that hardships and imprisonments awaited him.  And before that, many Hebrew prophets obeyed God at great cost.  Discipleship can be a difficult vocation and costly proposition.

Yet it overlaps with eternal life, which is knowing God via Jesus.  Living for oneself might lead to ease and comfort, but living for God is a high calling.  Also, one must do the right thing for the correct reason, so obeying God in hope of a heavenly reward is inferior to doing to the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  Obedience to God is its own reward.  And that should be enough.

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May

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