Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Great Are the Works of the Lord

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.  Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone.  Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.  1 Timothy 4:14-16

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  Luke 7:44


Lord, what is your plan for the sinners around you?  Help us to see those around us no matter how important they are in business or government, in life or in death. May we use the gifts you have given to us to magnify how great are your works for all around us. Amen.


How great are the works of the Lord?
How GREAT ARE the works of the Lord.
With a week that started in such tragedy, it is hard to keep our heads connected to the greatness of the Lord and creation.  What is in God’s plan that causes 12 people who go to work to never go home again?  We may never know.  For us, life goes on.  For those touch by the Navy Yard murders, life also goes on with more emptiness, more questions, more sorrow and more tears.
Jesus asks Simon a critical question:  Do you see this woman?  In the room were Pharisees, apostles, and the Lord himself.  Yet this woman stood behind Jesus, weeping in his presence and showering him with the most precious possession that she owned.  She did not take a place of honor.  She did not command the attention of all in the room by delivering a powerful speech.  No one asked the cause of her tears.  No one asked about her life.  They went straight to criticism.  We don’t even know the nature of her sins.  Nothing is said about that. 
What did she know that the others were taking for granted?  Maybe Jesus also was asking Simon and the Pharisees if they saw the same man in the room that the woman with the perfume and tears saw.  Whatever went on in her life before this encounter matters little if at all.  What is important is what she was doing in the present moment when she realized she was in the presence of Jesus.  She took what was most important and showered it on him. 


What would we do if Jesus asked us if we see the least important people around us.  Do you see this woman pushing the shopping cart across Lafayette Park?  Do you see this family struggling to pay their bills?  Do we see this unemployed worker searching to find a job?  Do we see the world in context? 
Maybe we also should ask ourselves what we would do if we saw the same man that she saw.  If we do see Him, will we neglect the gift we have been given?  Or will we put it to use for the greater good? 

Jesus can encounter us and we can encounter him through anyone around us.  It could be a co-worker in the cafeteria.  How many days do we wait in line surrounded by people we may never know?  It could be others.  Our paths cross so many people at so many times every day.  At the line in Starbucks.  Our paths cross as we rush into the parking lot at the outlet mall.  Who else is in the audience at this media event or that conference?  On the bus or subway?  Our paths cross as we stay in our lane crossing the Bay Bridge or circumnavigating the Beltway.  Yet, do we even see those around us?  

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