Should I Stay or Should I Go?

August 6, 2014

Should I Stay or Should I Go? ~ Anthony B. Robinson

Stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.  From Luke 24:44-53

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke conclude in quite different ways. In Matthew the disciples are told, “Go and make disciples.” “Go.” In Luke, they are told to “stay,” sit tight, wait in Jerusalem, stay put until you hare clothed with power from on high. I don’t imagine that the band the Clash had the New Testament in mind when they sang, “Should I stay or should I go?” but they could have.

Generally, I am more of a Matthew type than a Luke type. I prefer to go, to get on with it, to move, to do, and to act. But there is a time for waiting. Waiting until the time is right. Waiting until some gift of power and grace, not our own, comes upon us to make it possible for us to do what cannot be done in our own strength.

“Stay” said Luke, wait. But it’s not just waiting. It’s waiting for the Spirit, for a power not our own to come upon us, to clothe us. There are things that need doing in this world that are beyond our ability to accomplish solely by our own effort. God’s word, God’s incursion, God’s Spirit are required. “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

PRAYER: Veni Sancte Spiritus: Come, Holy Spirit, come. Teach me to wait and to pray. To wit for you, to call upon you, to be clothed from on high. Amen

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 233.

Whoa, Jesus.

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February 5, 2014

Whoa, Jesus ~~ Matt Laney

"Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep." Luke 6:20-21

Whoa Jesus. Whoa. What do you have against happy, healthy wealthy people?  This is America for god's sake. What about all that stuff on faith, forgiveness and unconditional love?  Stay on message, would you?

Besides, I'm not rich, Jesus.  Bill Gates is rich.  Oprah Winfrey is rich.  Joel Osteen is rich.  Barack Obama is rich.  But not me.  Sure, the fact that I have a car, a house, a refrigerator full of food and I never worry about where my next meal is coming from puts me in the top quarter of the world, but that doesn't qualify me as rich.

Are you some kind of socialist, Jesus?  All this hoopla about abandoning material possessions, common ownership, universal solidarity, railing against the religious establishment, doling out free health care . . . . Are you aiming for a global redistribution of wealth?  I hardly think that will solve anything.  Millions of decent people will lose their jobs and then where will we be?

Be careful, Jesus.  This kind of talk is mighty inflammatory.  You seem like such a nice young man, I'd hate to see any harm come to you.  Why don't you just focus on spiritual matters and leave economics to the experts.  Keep your politics out of the pulpit. You're only going to anger people and if you alienate the rich, who's going to fund your ministry?

Get a grip, Jesus.  Maybe you need to take some time off and recalibrate your message to something more in tune with reality.  All of this "holy reversal" business will only come true by the grace of God and a total overhaul of the human heart.

Sincerely (reluctant to be) yours,

All of us

PRAYER:  Empty us, Jesus, not only of our riches but also of our best ideas.  Getting behind you yet again…Amen.

 

From the United Church of Christ daily devotional, W.

Who Says You Don't Know How to Pray?

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January 25, 2014

Who Says You Don't Know How to Pray? ~~ Donna Schaper

"After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up, left everything, and followed him." - Luke 5:27

Most of us find ourselves "Doing for God" instead of "Being with God."  Few people follow the doers – and mobs go after those who have a sense of God within them.  The doers sometimes have a repulsive sanctimony; the bee in us wants to know more about those who know how to be.  We sense they are a flower who can feed us.  Doers often say they don't have time to pray.  Those who "be" can't stop praying.

Simone Weil said prayer is absolute unmixed attention.  Robert Frost said a poem is a momentary stay against confusion. So is a prayer.

Prayer goes to the quiet corner of the party and listens.  Prayer listens deep into our being inside of God's being.

John Quincy Adams said, on his deathbed, "I am composed."  Why wait until then for composure?  How about composure now, as it was in the beginning and will be in the end?

Who said you didn't know how to pray?  Or better put, what would make somebody follow you, like Levi followed Jesus?

PRAYER: Teach us to be with you, O God, in such a way that we don't even really care about who follows, so much are we convinced that we are following you.  Amen.

From the United Church of Christ Daily Devotional, Feed Your Spirit