Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daily Office Reflection: St. Peter and St. Paul

MP: Psalm 66; Ezekiel 2:1-7; Acts 11:1-18
EP: Psalms 97, 138; Isaiah 49:1-6; Galatians 2:1-9

This is a wonderful feast day with readings for The Daily Office which are critical under-pinnings of our faith and of our mission as a Church. Throughout history the members of the Church universal have argued about mighty things and petty ones. Our EP reading from Galatians provide an example of an argument amongst the early leaders of this Church. Our MP reading from Acts also exhibits this mindset of argument. Both resolve though in ways that are faithful to the prophetic words we hear in Isaiah: I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

As humans, many of us like to argue. Many of us like to win, to be right, and we utilize those wins and that right-seemingness as proof that our lives matter, that we are making a difference. Those ambitions and drivers can blind us and mis-direct us. Peter was dead-set against moving beyond the mission to the circumcised until his vision we hear about in our Acts reading today which ends with Who was I that I could hinder God? Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, tells of his argument with the leaders in Jerusalem about his continuing mission to those outside the 12 tribes of Israel and how some of those leaders rejected him, yet others reached out the right hand of fellowship, agreeing to missions focused on different groups, but all with the same underlining mission.

God made us as we are, with many of us contentious and unruly and (at times) tiresome. Our reading from Ezekiel points out to us that God does not get tired of reminding us of our primary agenda when we get contentious and rebellious. And although it is alluring at times of exhaustion to give up, close down, that is not what we are called upon to do. What we are called to do, unrelentingly, is to offer God's loving embrace to all we encounter, to reach out to those in need, whoever they are, wherever they are, and provide them with food, and shelter, and clothing, and companionship, and a community to which they are invited to be a part, and we are to offer them love. Not an easy assignment. Nor a quick one to accomplish. But together we can walk that path and do what we can.

Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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