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.

Action Command

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January 13

Action Command ~~ Donna Schaper

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. From 1 Peter 1:13 – 16

Action has a great public relations agency people want to be active, not passive; engaged, not distant; they remember the full wisdom that "actions speak louder than words." That action without a prepared mind is dangerous.

Don't just stand there, we say, do something. Most of what we do when we are just "doing something" is pointless. Actions without intentions – – an action without humility – – in fake us into thinking we are "doing something." Such action is a short term solution to life's long-term.

Unprepared or unmindful action has become tyrannical. It is divorced from reflection, and the children, after the divorce, are suffering. Whether it is speeding up at work; e-mails at home, at work, on the subway, or even while riding a bike; or on the way "we have become the tools of our tools," as Thoreau said, action is overblown. It has become something that puffs us up, while exhausting us.

The old-fashioned way of talking about this dilemma is to contrast works and grace, the way our doing of even good things can conflict with our way of being grace filled people. If you think it is all up to you and you have to work hard to do good, you are in danger of thinking your works have saved you and not your faith. Sola fide, only faith, say the old-timers. And they had no public relations agency all.

PRAYER: O God, when action threatens to get in the way of grace, permit us conscientious objection to joining its military. Amen.

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 14-15.