A Blessing of Wisdom

Scripture: Mark 6:1-13

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

Author’s note: To my one and only niece, Sophia Gwendolyn.

When you were born, you were weighed, measured, examined thoroughly, and a growth chart begun. For the next days and months and years information will be gathered by your pediatrician or family practice doctor, and your growth chart will begin to show a pattern used to assist doctors and parents alike with nutritional choices and lifestyle needs in order to ensure good, healthy progress is made as you grow and mature.

When you finally begin public school, a different set of benchmarks will get used, measuring against a set of standards for which current and later success may be projected. Like every student ever born, the question will be asked, did you pass the grade? Can we send you out into the world knowing what you know and hope and pray you will do the right thing, find fulfillment, happiness, and enjoyable work?

But what about your spirit? Your precious, precious spirit, planted in your soul by God; the part of you that is God’s beginning for your life? Is there a growth chart for that? How might one determine the growth pattern of your spiritual life?  Beginning at the beginning: You are created good, born into the world a perfect image of our Creator God; a reflection of the Christchild, to grace this earth for a time. No doubt, there will be challenges and angst, growing pains and disappointing realizations, which may tarnish, or cover over your unique goodness at different points of your life.

However, always know in your heart how to connect to the deepest most inner self that God made you, good and complete in God’s eyes. And, as your name implies, may the very wisdom of God fill you in those inner places and make you wise, discerning what is the good and perfect will of God. As you listen to the heartbeat of God in all things, be prepared for unimaginable adventures wherein you are sent out in the power of Christ, even as your foremothers and forefathers became disciples and were sent out. Mark tells us, after being sent out do what Jesus did, that they “gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.” (6:30) May you find yourself in such blessed company as this!

Sophia Gwendolyn, we promise that we will do our best to guide you and keep you, safe from all harm, and teach you what it means to be alive in the power of God’s Spirit. And we pray that we, despite our years of being human, witnessing humanity’s mistakes and pit falls, and stumbling in our own walk with God, would learn to identify the marks of Christ’s wisdom, even as we would teach them to you.

How will we know the power of God is at work in our lives in the name of Jesus Christ? Are we going out and proclaiming repentance, casting out demons, anointing with oil and healing people? Are there those in our lives to whom we have passed on the legacy of our faith while we are yet alive to see it at work? By what measure do we know God’s power is at work in us?

In 2 Samuel, we read that Saul failed to meet God’s requirements to be Israel’s king. A leader is supposed to be a shepherd of people. A kingdom ultimately thrives or falls with a leader’s work; which is measurable and has accountability built in on a large scale. What were the standards or set of expectations for Israel? What are our contemporary ones? What are the criteria that make David, instead of Saul, a “son after the Lord’s own heart?” (Acts 13:22)

Perhaps the answer lies in knowing that, “God calls each one of us to particular work, and our faithfulness to that call matters more than the outcome. What is God calling us to do, and are we faithful to that call?”[1]

Despite the palatable wisdom of Jesus’ teachings, the text in Mark’s account illuminates the powerlessness of Jesus, as a byproduct of the unbelief of the community, which is a very troubling concept indeed. Hasn’t God given Jesus, as Messiah, God’s own power? Commentator Beverly Zink-Sawyer reminds us in this case the powerlessness of Jesus,

“is not primarily about him, but about us: about those who are unwilling to believe the great things God can do. [Perhaps] the story of Jesus’ own rejection at Nazareth sets up the mission of the twelve disciples. [Perhaps] The reason for Mark’s inclusion of [this story is to prepare] the Twelve [and to prepare us] for what might be a mixed reception…. Nevertheless, just as Jesus persists in his work by healing and curing even “a few sick people” amid the “unbelief” (vv. 5, 6) of the people of Nazareth, the disciples are commanded to persist in their own work in his name. (v. 13)”[2] (Emphasis added)

And, I submit, so are we. For you Sophia Gwendolyn, (and for all of us) my prayer is this: that we would persist in teaching all that is good; about you, about God, about this good green earth that is our home. And I pray that you will some day persist in your own exploration of how God is real and present in all things, the Life behind all life, the Soul behind every soul, the joy behind all joy, the Light that illumines all things. May the wisdom you discover never meet with scorn, but feed, heal, and encourage all whom you meet in this fair world of our Lord’s making. Welcome to this good, green and God-breathed world, Dear One. May you find your way in it, even as we learn to love and guide you into your own.

May there always be Angels to watch over you;

To guide you each step of the way.

To guard you and keep you, safe from all harm,

Lu – Li – Lu – Li – Lai – Lay; … Lu – Li – Lu – Li – Lai – Lay.

 

Text for Sleepsong ~ a Celtic lullaby as sung by Saroise on EarthSongs’ “A Secret Garden”

 

“Lay down your head, and I’ll sing you a lullaby,

Back to the years of Lu – Li – Lai – Lay;

And I’ll sing you to sleep, and I’ll sing you tomorrow;

Bless you with love, for the road that you go.

 

May you sail fair to the far fields of fortune

With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet

And may you need never to banish misfortune

May you find kindness in all that you meet.

(Chorus)

May there always be Angels to watch over you;

To guide you each step of the way.

To guard you and keep you, safe from all harm,

Lu – Li – Lu – Li – Lai – Lay.

 

May you bring love, and may you bring happiness;

Be loved in return, ‘til the end of your days;

Now fall off to sleep, I’m not meaning to keep you;

I’ll just sit for a while and sing Lu – Li – Lai – Lay.

(Chorus)

May there always be Angels to watch over you;

To guide you each step of the way.

To guard you and keep you, safe from all harm

Lu – Li – Lu – Li – Lai – Lay; Lu – Li – Lu – Li – Lai – Lay.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How do you allow the wisdom of Christ to govern your life?
  2. What nugget of Christ’s wisdom have you learned?
  3. How to you share that wisdom with others?
  4. Jesus charges his disciples to be vulnerable as he sends them out. In what ways might God be calling you to be vulnerable today?
  5. Stuff distracts us. Useless clutter we think we cannot live without can be a burden: too many coats, shoes, garden tools, or mismatched kitchen storage containers with no lids in sight as they tumble out of overstuffed cupboards. Perhaps our clutter shows up in other ways: on a computer that has grown slow from processing too many useless files, or when our minds grow dull from too much Web surfing or television watching. Do you struggle with too much stuff? How do Jesus’ words about traveling light challenge you to change the way you live?
  6. How can you follow him more faithfully today?

Household Prayer: Morning

Loving God, as this day opens into new and untold possibility, purge me of my compulsive need to carry useless baggage – physically, mentally, or emotionally. Teach me to walk simply with you as I trust in your abundant provision. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Lord, as I come to the close of this day, I thank you for the gift of attentiveness and for every moment that the eye of my heart was fixed on you. When I failed, you were with me, and when I wavered, you were there, for there is no place that you are not. And so I rest in peace this night, for your grace is more than sufficient for me. Amen.

 

 

[1] Reed, Leanne Pearce. Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).

[2] Zink-Sawyer, Beverly. Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary – Feasting on the Word – Year B, Volume 3: Pentecost and Season After Pentecost 1 (Propers 3-16).

 

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
This entry was posted in Conversation Starters, Inspiration, Sermon. Bookmark the permalink.

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