#GodsWill is the reflection for June 7, 2015, Trinity Sunday. How do we know God’s will? What is God’s agenda? What do Pharisees, family and Gary, IN have in common? Find out in “God’s Will”, the podcast for this week. Available on itunes and android. #MSAWordfortheDay #MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Homily #GaryIndiana #GodsWill #HowDoWeKnow #IsYourLifePartOfTheStory
This year we will use the Revised Common Lectionary Readings. Coming in 2016, the reflection for Corpus Christi Sunday. Our Comic, Ana Koulouris has focused her comic strip on Corpus Christi here.
For My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/7/2015 The 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Mark 3:20-35.
How do we know if something is of God or not? It seems that this is a very difficult situation. We can see from the raging argument amongst Christians right now about homosexuality, so called ‘gay marriage’, and the transgender post of Bruce Jenner on the cover a magazine this past week. It is one of the biggest questions that we have to ask as Christians wanting to do God’s will. Christians should pray the Lord’s Prayer every day. In it, it says, “your will be done.” How do we know what the will of God is?
The passage from the Gospel of Mark is about the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of humanity. Jesus has just started his ministry and we are only three chapters into the Gospel of Mark. So far, he has healed St. Peter’s Mother-in-law (Mark 1), preached repentance and forgiveness of sins, healed a paralytic, a leper and a man with a withered hand, and has engaged the Pharisees about questions of the Sabbath. In all this time of healing, preaching, and giving people good news of God’s love, there have been two groups that are not so sure about him: his family and the religious authorities.
Why is it that we just cannot fathom that people close to us are talented? I know that my own father thought that my faith and preaching were because, “Mark is just weird about that stuff,” he told a sibling. If there is one thing that I cannot talk about at family gatherings, it is my faith or religion in general. I have degrees and have been a practicing minister for nearly 30 years and the only time I am called on to talk about spirituality is when we have a death in the family. When I was going to move my children to the City of Gary, IN because I felt the Lord called me to that place, it was a family member (who has since repented) who said, “you are not responsible enough to have your children. They should come live with me.”
Could it be that these are the people who experienced how absolutely co-dependent I used to be? Could it be that they knew what I was like inside the house, behind closed doors? Yes, and probably more. Yet, it is also because we tend to have a harshness toward those to whom we are closest. We feel more free to be more critical of their motives beause we have seen them at their worst. We often do not think of people around us as being people who could just do the best, be the best and want the best for themselves and the world around them. Is that because there is a justification to think that there is something wrong with us as we attempt to do God’s will? If we look at Jesus, we should know better.
I think Jesus says it best, “My mother, brothers and sisters are those who do the will of God.” Yes, these are the people I call on when I am truly in need. I have a few siblings I call on because I love all of my family, but really, the people I go to for advice and such are the people of my faith community—not meaning this as a swipe against my family in the least. I admire them, am proud of all my siblings in particular, and love them dearly.
Then, we have the Church. I had mentioned two Sundays ago that when I sat in the parlor on a Pentecost Sunday night with a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, I had the sinking feeling that all he could see was that the Holy Spirit moved to bring people into conformity with his system of faith. I once asked a famous Catholic Evangelist what we do when the Church, “our Mother” he liked to say, abuses us, which has happened over and over again in the history of the Church. That was a couple of years ago and he is still working on his reply. Or, on the Protestant side, what do we do when someone sounds or acts “too Catholic”? I just attended a prayer service where a United Methodist minister, who was not me, crossed himself in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Evidently the Spirit has moved this man to be more demonstrative with his prayer, using his entire body, and is a minister in a Protestant Church. Unfortunately, I heard some people discounting what he had to say over all because he had crossed himself. Really?
It seems to me that being open to the Holy Spirit should ask a simple question, “Will what I am doing honor God or not?” Look at the body of work of Jesus Christ up to this time in the Gospel of Mark. Is there anything about healing people in the name of God, or calling people to repentance, or calling them to be ministers of the Gospel that is bad? You may think that only if you think that it is not the “right way to heal” or that it is not “the right person to heal” them. You may think that the message is not true because “you know what that person is like behind closed doors”.
In my years of experience of both Catholic and Protestant spirituality, I have come to see that there is a third way. Sometimes the Catholic Church closes itself off like the scribes and Pharisees in this passage. They see someone who is not exactly like the pattern and sequence of events and discount that out of hand. Sometimes the Protestant Church is too open and takes anything and everything as God’s work as long as it makes people feel good. In these two approaches, there is nothing but confusion for those of us who wish to be true to God, but are faced with sticky situations in our lives.
Does it really matter if someone receives the Lord during the Eucharist on their tongue or in their hand? What should matter is that the person is receiving the Lord, right? Does it really matter if a person signs themselves or if the preacher blesses us with the sign of the Cross? What should matter is that we are being blessed or that a person feels blessed, right?
How do we welcome people into the community of faith if we cannot have openness that God just might be doing something new here? How can we be true to all that God has already taught us about how he works by allowing things that he has said are sinful and blessing them as righteousness? Is there a way that we can uphold both at the same time in a way that only Solomon or Jesus could reveal to us?
Is what you feel God calling you to do something that is similar to what God has asked others to do in the Bible, in the history of the Church? Is what you feel God is calling you to do something that is not opposed to itself, as Jesus points out so well in this passage? Is what you feel God is calling you to do something that advances the Kingdom of God? Is what you feel God is calling you to do something that is using the gifts, meaning talents, you have to bless those around you and others?
As Jesus shows us by example in this passage, God is not about just tickling our fancy one accommodation after another. God is about the salvation of the world, verily the universe. The Father is about the restoration of humanity and the earth through the person of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. If what you feel God is calling you to do is in line with God’s agenda, then I can assure you, it is his will. A house divided cannot stand. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2015.