As we practice the disciplines of submission and serving, we are freed from the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way, and we find the freedom to value and serve others.
I wondered how hungry the man was to steal an egg salad sandwich from a convenience store. I also wondered how he would have reacted to the customer’s kindness. He left without knowing his debt was paid. He was free to go. The food belonged to him.
Jesus drew her out, asked her to tell her story. To speak words aloud, to share them with the crowd, to scatter her words like seeds.
Weeding and praying go hand in hand. I tug and clear and get dirty and think and talk to God and process my thoughts and feelings and listen to the birds and untangle morning glories. And God weeds my soul and cultivates my soil and could, like in the cemetery Easter morning, be mistaken for a gardener.
Today we encounter two men, Timothy and Epaphroditus, who have chosen to believe what Paul has taught them about joy. They don’t just believe it, they are putting into action the things they’ve learned. Their stories serve as perfect examples of how serving well leads to joy.
In this mysterious moment, known to history as “the Transfiguration,” Jesus reveals to the disciples his true nature. And to their shock, his true nature is the glory of God shining from his face. Present with the disciples, and beholding the same incredible sight, is Moses, the prophet who had asked on Mt. Sinai to see God’s glory. Only now, on Mt. Tabor, does he get what he hoped for. Only in Jesus does he see God face to face.
When Joseph has the opportunity to look back over all he had been through, his summary comment was, “God meant it for good.”
One of my favorite evangelists is known by her place of
conversion. She is the woman at the well — the Samaritan woman — who
encountered Jesus while she was filling her water pot. She had a conversation that transformed her and moved her to share her experience with others.
“What do you mean, that’s not my father? Those are the hands that cared for me. Those are the arms that took me up and hugged me. Those are the lips that spoke to me; the eyes that searched for me; the chest on which I fell asleep, knowing I was safe in his care. Everything I have ever known of my father was through this body. Don’t tell me that’s not him.”
God always delivers a message in your misery and a word for your wilderness.