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Get low. Get chosen. Rise up.

by davesandel on May 14th, 2020

May 14, 2020               (today’s lectionary)

 

Get low. Get chosen. Rise up.

“Peter stood up.” If he stood in a precarious fishing boat he might go overboard. Now Peter stands up in the midst of 120 people. I guess they were all sitting, and Peter stood up. He spoke to them with authority.

I think of Peter as a quiet fisherman-farmer type, spending most of his time alone saying little He has very few words in his daily vocabulary. But not only does he speak with eloquence about a difficult subject (choosing another apostle to replace Judas), but he quotes Psalms (“May another take his office”) and he shares some of the Jesus Story.

Judas has “turned away to go to his own place.” Now they must replace him with another who “accompanied us the whole time with Jesus and became with us a witness to his resurrection.” There are not many of those. Using lots (short straw, dice …) they chose Matthias.

This might have been the last time the Christians used this tried and true Jewish method of discerning the will of God. After Pentecost and the arrival and anointing of the Holy Spirit, they prayed, listened, and acted on what they heard through the Spirit. No more dice.

“Praise you servants of the Lord. He raises up the lowly from the dust. The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.” I imagine Matthias struggling not to strut, working his way toward the front with a bit of a blush on his face, breathing quickly, his face settling into a hopeful, humble smile. In seniority he is last, but in immediacy and willing spirit he could well be first.

He must, like any leader, find the way to his position under heaven. “From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised.” That’s his whole job, and the rest – the distractions, the detritus, the friendly hazing, the rumblings of dissent and the richness of approval, matter not.

Get on my knees before bed and pray. Stand up in the morning and pray. Fall on my face in the noon sun and pray. Break bread and pray. Drink wine and pray. Listen and pray. Speak and pray. Follow and pray. Lead and pray.

Yes, especially that one. Turn it around: pray and lead.

Jesus simply tells his disciples to “love one another as I love you.” Matthias, are you listening? But like me, perhaps Matthias isn’t as clear about this “love” as he would like to be. What do you mean, Lord?

Reverse the way you think. What do others need?

I’m alone a lot, Lord.

Maybe too much. You need to get out more. Look around.

I smile and say hello. But I don’t stop to ask if I can help. I make a conscious effort to be friendly in stores. I forgo road rage, usually.

Good. What else?

I pray for people. I sing songs with Margaret. She’s the “other” that I can love most often. I think of what she needs.

You can tell her what you just told me. See if she knows, see if she understands, see if she “feels” loved.

Jesus said, “I appointed you to go and bear fruit.” And this with a promise: “so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

I think there’s a progression here. When I ask, God bears fruit in me, and I pass it on to Margaret and to others. Repeat. This is love. Not that we loved God exactly (because it’s God who loves us), but that we ASK God. That’s how the whole thing starts.

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