Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 311: Joel 1-2; Psalm 105; Matthew 7

Why Are We Here?
I don't think it is to just sit around, waiting for God to show up. I also don't think we can manage on our own. So, why are we here?

To be in a dynamic relationship with God, and once there, to engage in dynamic, divinely-guided relationships with each other. The why is simply defined, at least from the context of today's scriptures. God's Presence is here and now. How could we presume to ignore that aspect of reality? Particularly when, as the prophet Joel puts it, the day of the Lord draws near. When that moment breaks over us, once the hordes of life-locusts have done their number, how can we hope to ignore the God who is all that and more to us? On another tack, in the context of Psalm 105, God is demonstrably with us through all the good times and bad. Be it protection for the wanderings, inspiration to the dreamer, deliverance at the Reed Sea, or manna in the desert...God is with us. Again, how could we put that awareness to flight?

That's the moment we turn to Jesus' concluding words from the Sermon on the Mount. After all the blessings, after all the directions for practice that magnify the words of the Law and the Prophets, Jesus turns his attention to how we can answer God's daily summons to walk in mercy, humility and faith. The "why" is settled...we are because God wills that we should exist in relationship to our Creator and to all the other constituent elements of the creation we walk alongside in this life. Now, the "how"....

The Christ coaches us: take the logs out of our own eyes before we go pointing out the splinters in others' eyes; pour out yourself to people who can receive your gifts, but don't resent those who cannot accept them because of their nature or constitution; ASK; SEARCH; KNOCK; give appropriately and generously to those over whom you have power; seek out the narrow gate; watch out for false prophets; BEAR GOOD FRUIT; don't resent "rotten trees" for not producing good fruit; WALK THE TALK. Above all, be steadfast in practice.

We are made for a purpose: to be in relationship with God and with each other. We are called to practice a mindful stewardship of those relationships. Put the two together and we have the kingdom of God, and the Day of the Lord becomes something we do not dread....not at all......

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