Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Kingdom of God is Yours

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 11, 2007
Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins
Read the TEXT
Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1:1-6
I Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
Luke 6:17, 20-26

The Kingdom of God is Yours

We have this treasure in earthen vessels.

Throughout scripture spiritual life and nourishment is pictured as a tree planted by the river of waters. The deep refreshment found by these waters causes faith, hope and love to abound in the believer. To stray from these living waters is to enter into the way of death. Everyone knows that where there is drought nothing can exist. Unless out of us is flowing rivers of living water the joy of God’s Kingdom will not be present. There is nothing more devastating than to find our selves without faith, without hope, without God in this world.

To trust in the treasures and wisdom of this age is to become barren. Yet the poor of this world, who count not this world their home, are bequeathed a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Jesus has told us that His kingdom is not of this world. Indeed, the kingdom is within you!

We miss the life-giving reign of God when we neglect to be still and empty. Let us be reminded that the poor heard Jesus gladly. In our poorness let us discover the pearl of great price. To you is given the kingdom of God. But only in our detachment from the things that perish with the using do we begin to know him whom to know is life everlasting.

It is attachment to the way of this world, which detours us from the way of life. The Christian message is very simple. There is the way of life and few there be that find it; and the way of death and destruction and many who walk its path. Is it not the Mother Theresa’s of this world who remind us of the better way and everlasting joy?

The disciples of Jesus exclaimed, “We have left all and followed you!” And it was Jesus who replied that they would have blessing and provision in this world and in the world to come. Let us receive this kingdom and know the joy that remains and multiplies even when we are hated and despised by all. Great is your reward in heaven.

Dear Jesus, for our sakes you became poor so that we might become rich. You had no place to lay your head because you seek to live in us. Help us to open the door of our heart and let you in. Amen.

Let Us Love One Another

Theme: Let Us Love One Another
Text: I John 4:7-21
Reflections on the text by Dennis Hankins

In one Morning Litany found in St. Augustine’s Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church is found these words: Glorious Holy Trinity, Abyss of Love.

The mutual self-giving affection of the Holy Trinity has touched our world and us in the person of Jesus Christ. God sent his Son into the world so that we might live through him. God is love! And further more, if God has loved us, we ought to love one another.

Perhaps no one has ever quite said yes to carry God’s infinite love into the world like Mary. Yet like Mary we must abandon ourselves to receive the divine embrace. While it is true God loved us through Mary, it is equally true that Mary loved us through God. Sacrificial love is about giving away freely what has been freely given to us. Do you think John, the disciple to whom Jesus gave his Mother, learned some of these truths he writes concerning the love of God, from Mary the Mother of Love Incarnate?

Jesus does not force himself on anyone. Neither should we. Love of the charitable variety is not self-seeking. While Jesus does not barge in where not invited, He does stand at the door and knock. And if anyone hears his voice and opens the door, Jesus will come in to him and eat with him and he with Jesus. Your children need to know you care. But if you don’t knock and you refuse to let them hear your heart, they will never let you into their heart.

Loving one another is not for the faint of heart. When Mary wrapped her newborn son in swaddling clothes, a sword was about to pierce her heart. He who came from the heart of holy love was smuggled into Egypt because evil men sought the young child to kill him. But all of this early drama of Love’s debut highlights the fact that God first loved us and that is why and how we can and ought always to love one another.