Friday, July 1, 2011

Daily Office Reflection: Radical Changes

Psalms 140, 142 * 141, 143:1-11(12); 1 Samuel 13:19-14:15; Acts 9:1-9; Luke 23:26-31

Today in Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, we remember Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Stowe was concerned about the cruel and inhuman effects slavery had on those subjected to that status, and in particular the ruinous effects it had on families. Generally speaking, she was lauded in the north and much-hated in the south. Her work drew international attention to the anti-slavery movement which was one of the moving pieces of the complex puzzle that led up to the Civil War.

Our readings in the DO today are likewise turning point moments in the stories they are telling. In First Samuel, we have the introduction of the warrior Jonathan, Saul's son, who will (fairly soon) meet another warrior, David. We have a bloody battle in which Jonathan and his armor-bearer kill many Philistines. This is the slow turning point from Jonathan's disgraced father, King Saul, to a new generation of leaders. In our Acts reading, the murderously angry Paul is struck blind on his way to Damascus, radically altering his life's journey. And in Luke, Jesus in on the way to Calvary's hilltop when he stops to talk to the mourning "daughters of Jerusalem" who have been following him. We are in the midst of the biggest turning point of the Passion narrative.

Life is filled with moments that we do not realize can, and do, radically change us. Allowing ourselves to be moved in new directions by these changes and chances in life is an important part of our continual growth as the Body of Christ in the world today. Trying to fight against those growth filled events, many times, leads to heart ache and unpleasantness. Living into a changed landscape allows us to be change-agents ourselves, modeling Christ's life.

We probably won't be the most popular kids on the block, but we really aren't called to be that, are we?

The Collect for Harriet Beecher Stowe:
Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose fiction inspired thousands with compassion for the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples, and who enriched her writings with the cadences of The Book of Common Prayer. Help us, like her, to strive for your justice, that our eyes may see the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with you and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now and always. Amen

Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Anointing of Hands, 2007.

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