Saturday, May 20, 2017

On Account of My Name

During the night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." When he had seen the vision, we sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them. Acts 16:9-10

Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name because they do not know the one who sent me."  John 15:20-21

“I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine, there's gotta be a little rain sometime.”

Lyrics by Joe South, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Turn on the television, radio or open a publication and the ads will overflow. These ads try to sell you new electronic gear to make your life more fulfilled. Give you discounts so you will spend more money at a particular retailer. Pump up your ego so you will buy the finest champagne so you can “celebrate with the greatest.”  Rent this beach hour to escape “rush hour.”

Jesus never took Marketing 101. Here in the Last Supper Discourse, the promises he makes are not likely to win any Addy Awards for creativity. Maybe he is using reverse psychology?  Jesus is just being brutally honest about what people can expect. He is not promising a rose garden.

Reading Gospel passages like this always remind me of a prayer card that our Friend and Rector Frank Mcleskey quoted in a Cursillo talk: “He never promised it would be easy. He only promised that it would be worth it.”

Expanding on this concept, Christopher Hudson from writes: “God never promised life would be easy. But he did promise to discipline us, to refine us, to grow us in our faith. And while we don’t know what the end result looks like, we know God is ultimately good and has our best in mind. Do you want to know God’s will for your life? It's pretty simple. Jesus didn’t die to make you good, happy, or successful in this world. He died to make you more like him.”  [i]

We are people who like directions. We carry Google Maps on our smartphones and paper maps in our cars. We get directions with products we but even if we do not read them or follow them. We set out on our own and if things do not work out, we regroup and consult the directions or authorities.

Think about the directions Jesus gives today. He is offering up a map of the path right up Calvary behind him. Are you ready for the journey?  It promises to be a rough ride. But the view from the top, ah, the view from the top!

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