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This man does all things well

by davesandel on September 7th, 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021                          (today’s lectionary)

This man does all things well

I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever. You are good to all and compassionate toward all your works.

I feel all pleasured up. Yesterday we went with Miles and Jasper to the Quarry Splash Pad extravaganza in Round Rock and later ate Aviator pizza. Margaret and I put together a beautiful white bed frame we rescued from our apartment trash pile, and tonight I’m going with a few friends to our “Houseboat” meeting, to swim in Lake Travis, eat, drink and be merry, and share spiritual life stories with each other.

I get to share stories with friends from around the country on our video phones too – spiritual direction from afar, counseling from a distance, praying together, sometimes crying together and laughing too, because we connect, we live for a moment with and for each other. This is a good and faithful time for us.

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself and chose the Twelve, whom he also named Apostles. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd from Judea and Jerusalem, from Tyre and Sidon, came to hear him, and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.

And this morning, considering the unpolished gems in my life, polishing them with remembrance, I see and feel Jesus all night praying on the mountain, choosing his disciples, finding a flat plain and with the power behind him of his Father and his friends, healing and preaching, preaching and healing, and doing it all again the next day.

Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him, because power came forth from him and healed them all.

For Jesus, oh what a life of generous joy. I guess he was too good, too happy, and too honest to live for long in the land of the fallen. His message that the Kingdom of God is here was confusing, and it enraged the leaders who thought they needed to protect their people, and by the way, protect their power.

Although he had been one himself, Saul became a preacher against those powers and authorities. Eventually taking his Greek name Paul, he enraged those same leaders , but across a much larger swath of the then known world.

See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.

Paul writes as if he lived how I want also to live: get up in the morning with Jesus, go to bed at night with his name on my lips.

As you received Jesus walk in him, rooted in him, built upon him and established in the faith you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

In this life there is more than enough, there is no hurry, and though I keep track of my commitments to others, I have all the time I need to fall in love again with Jesus.

For in his body dwells the whole fullness of the deity, and you share in this fullness with him, the head of all the powers. You were buried with him in baptism – in the Christ Circumcision – and then also raised with him through your faith in the power of God.

These Colossians, oh how they must have laughed and cried with joy to read Paul’s words. They were people just like us, not demigods eating grapes as they reclined on couches, served by slaves. Their power came from the inside, where God had raised them up. But because the hot sun was relentless and their work was often hard labor and they saw many who looked down their tilted noses at them, like us they needed words of grace, mercy and peace. Paul poured it on.

Even when you were dead in your sin, your Father brought you to life along with Jesus, OBLITERATING the bond that claimed us, opposed us, was brought against us … he REMOVED that bond entirely, from our bodies, from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

The Colossians had no need for redemptive violence of their own making, and neither do we. The power of righteous anger to galvanize action does not include revenge, which only results in endless echoes of fruitless death. I do NO killing. Instead in my poverty and pain, even in my own humiliation and death, I forgive as Jesus did, because I know the redemptive power of our Source and our Destination is at work.

He made a public spectacle of them, despoiling the principalities and the powers, and he led them away.

God’s not-always-so-gentle redemption brings peace, so that  even Paul, persecuted as he was, could say to the Romans near the end of his life, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let us speak of the glory of your kingdom and share stories of all your might. For you are compassionate toward us all.

(Colossians 2, Psalm 145, John 15, Luke 6)

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