Friday, October 23, 2015

Do the Good I Want

By Colleen O’Sullivan

For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want…  Miserable one that I am!  Who will deliver me from this mortal body?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 7:19, 24-25a)

“You hypocrites!  You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”   (Luke 12:56)

Hear, Lord, the prayers we offer from contrite hearts.
Have pity on us as we acknowledge our sins.
Lead us back to the way of holiness.
Protect us now and always from the wounds of sin.
May we ever keep safe in all its fullness
the gift your love one gave us
and your mercy now restores.
Enough blue in the sky to patch a sailor’s pants – a sure sign, according to my grandmother, that the clouds would give way to a sunny day. 

Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.  Red sky at morning, sailors take warning – a saying I’ve heard all my life that often pans out.  If the sunrise is deep red gorgeous, it will likely rain at some point during the day.  A beautiful sunset with lots of red is almost a guarantee of nice weather the next day.

Jesus is right.  Even without the benefit of the National Weather Service or Doppler radar, people have always been fairly capable of predicting the weather by observing the signs around them.  But then Jesus goes on to wonder why those same people, who are so observant about the next day’s forecast, can’t discern the presence of the Kingdom of God in their midst. 

Here we see Jesus talking to the crowds, not just his disciples.  By now, he hopes that at least a few of the disciples have some clue to his identity and his purpose for being on earth.  He is painfully aware, however, that the majority of the people he’s addressing in this gathering have no idea who he is or why he’s journeying from village to village, healing, teaching and preaching, nor do they really care.  They’re there to be entertained.  The Kingdom of God is all around them and they don’t see it or feel it!

If you are reading this, I’m assuming you’re not among the clueless crowd Jesus is talking to.  We know who Jesus is.  We know what he’s done for us.  We see and feel his presence in our lives. 

Then we come to Paul’s words to the Romans.  And we have to admit that even though we are able to discern Christ’s presence in our midst and know how Jesus wants us to live our lives, there’s always that huge stumbling block – SIN.  We truly want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, but something keeps pulling us off the path, luring us on detours to places we never meant to go.

“Help!” we call.  “We’re lost.  We can’t find the way.  We’re sorry we left the marked route.  Can anyone lead us back?”  And along comes Jesus, who picks us up, dusts us off, takes us by the hand, and leads us back to where we got off-track.  And does it time and again when we do the evil we do not want.  “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What is it that derails you on your journey with Christ?  For many of us, if we’re honest with God and ourselves, it’s often the very thing we least wanted to do.  When you are praying today, ask for Jesus’ forgiveness and for his deliverance from whatever it is that conspires to separate you from him.

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