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Chosen out of this world

by davesandel on May 16th, 2020

May 16, 2020               (today’s lectionary)

 

Chosen out of this world

Paul, now with Silas because Barnabas the Benevolent wanted to reunite with Mark and Paul would not hear of it, begins to visit the Greek cities where he had preached before. There they find Timothy, a growing young man, son of one of Paul’s Jewish converts. When Paul asked him to come along, he could not have been more excited! He was even willing to be circumcised to avoid offending the more circumspect Jews along the way.

As they traveled they shared the Jerusalem Letter, and “the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers every day.

Paul had planned their route, but there were problems. “Forbidden by the Holy Spirit.” Then at the next planned stop, “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” At last a vision came to Paul in the night, of what TO do rather than what NOT to do. This vision was reprised by George Lukas in Star Wars, or at least I think so, when Princess Leia speaks through the hologram, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kanobi. You’re my only hope.” Paul saw and heard a Macedonian plead with him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And we sought passage to Macedonia at once.

From “they” in verse 8 to “we” in verse 10 … Luke has arrived, and now writes from experience rather than hearsay. Their group is growing: Paul, Silas, Timothy and now Luke.

“They serve the Lord with gladness.” Their message is simple, “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Not them, but US. All of us. Jesus welcome the Gentiles, he welcomes the Jews. He welcomes the men, he welcomes the women.  “It is he who made us, and we are his.”

Jesus lifts up the bread, he lifts up the wine, he lifts up his body, and he lifts up his disciples. “I have chosen you out of the world.” Can they remember, can I remember when I had not yet been “chosen out of the world?” Perhaps, but why would I want to?

Perhaps because “if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Jesus said that to this disciples, who would all eventually be persecuted too. But have I been persecuted? If not, does that mean I have done nothing so “out of the world” to not be noticed?

I’d rather ask the questions and leave them hanging, than hazard answers. Always there are two sides. And usually it seems easier to settle on the fence than to pick a side.

“They do not know the one who sent me.” But David, you know me. David, you are chosen out of the world. Step up, speak out and say so.

I will, Lord. I do, Lord. Now and then. And in conversation, in counseling, I often listen for your direction and speak when spoken too. Must I also answer questions that have more than one answer?

And is that a question for me? I think I’ll leave you to answer it yourself. My question for you is simpler, “What are you going to do today? What will you say? How will you know you are chosen out of this world?”                    (Acts 16, Psalm 100, John 15)

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