On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Readings for the 4th Sunday of Pentecost 2017, July 2nd

First Reading: Jeremiah 28:5-9

5The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; 6and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. 7But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

Psalm: Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

1 Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; 
    from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

2 For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; 
    you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

3 "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; 
    I have sworn an oath to David my servant:

4 'I will establish your line for ever, 
    and preserve your throne for all generations.'"

15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout! 
    they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.

They rejoice daily in your Name; 
    they are jubilant in your righteousness.

17 For you are the glory of their strength, 
    and by your favor our might is exalted.

18 Truly, the LORD is our ruler; 
    The Holy One of Israel is our King.

Second Reading: Romans 6:12-23
12Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

15What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 10:40-42

[Jesus said to the twelve:] 40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

When Cold Water is not just cold water

“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me,”  OK, I play, Matthew, I have read the Gospel of John, I know how this string thinking works. So, If someone welcomes the disciple in mission, they welcome Jesus. Got that.
“and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”  In good Gospel of John fashion, “I and the Father are one” so welcoming Jesus is equal to welcoming the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinity works. Got it.
“ Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; “ So, if you welcome what the prophet has to say, assuming the prophet is not Ezekiel after he saw the vision of God — wheels with in wheels and all — and is mute for the three weeks as he stays at your house by the Kabar River, then you will benefit from what the prophet has to say. Got it. 
“and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; “  So, if you welcome a good person you might learn something from them concerning living according to God’s holy will from them as you are in their presence. Got it.
“ and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple — truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” So, what is that reward? In the first saying it was Jesus, the second, if it is a second since it really seems to be a single phrase with the previous saying, it was the totality of God, the third it was a word from on high, the third it was the encouragement of right living. But what is the reward here? And who are the “least” or “little” ones? And who is the disciple? The giver or the receiver of the cup of cold water? 
We are still in a continuous speech of Jesus. Our text is part of the missionary discourse. Here, the disciples have been sent to heal and proclaim. Matthew lists the names and calls them ”disciples” in 10:1. Jesus has told them they are to not acquire pay or supplies as they go about their duties. (10:8b-10) They are therefore without cold water or the cup to drink it from. The context suggests that the disciples might be the recipients of the kindness of others here. The parallel in Mark 9:41 is much clearer here: “For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.”
Somehow, being part of advancing the mission of the disciples, even though it is not clear whether the givers are recipients of the mission at the time of their extension of kindness, will not be forgotten in heaven. Some will gain favor in heaven though they will not know it. That also is the subject of Matthew 25: The sheep and the goats. The difference between the two chapters is that one uses: “These Little ones,” and the other uses: “The least.” 
In a way, this is a commissioning akin to that of Abraham: “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:3) The presence to the church in mission is a blessing to the world not just because it proclaims salvation but because simple hospitable interaction with it shall bring blessing. “Ah,” you say,” but there are no condemnations.” Well, yes there are. They are in 10:15. The Sodom and Gomorrah stuff. And again, the matter is about receiving the disciples and not receiving the disciples, just as it is here. Hospitality matters. 

I am very much aware that the last verse about the cold water has been turned around in meaning by years of use. It is used as encouragement to be in action, social action, if only in the simplest of ways. That use is not inappropriate in the sense of Matthew since chapter 25 encourages simple action not just on disciples or the church but on everyone. As a matter of fact, it insists that judgement in heaven is based on how people behave with the least of society and how they behave when no one is watching and no reward is sought or promised. “Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks,” says Jesus “By your careless words you shall be known.” (12:33-37)
No matter what tack one takes with verse 42, in Matthew it is a matter of the one with the cup held out to the stranger being a good tree. The cup is merely evidence that a good heart, a hospitable heart, is beating within them. The question in either case ought to be: What heart beats within us? How can a heart be changed? Can it be done at all? The story of the rich young man asks that question bluntly: Who then can be saved? (19:16-26) Both chapter 12 and 19 give hint that God indeed can effect that change. Only God can do so. (19:26) God can clean evil spirits and replace them with the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, it must happen. (12:43-45)
You see, it never was the church’s mission in the first place. It was and is the mission of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Being received as missionaries is a prerequisite that only the Holy Spirit can accomplish. In other words, the ground that the missionary walks on is prepared by heaven itself. If the missionary is not received hospitably, it is merely a matter of the place not being ready. Jesus warns the disciples of this when he tells them not to go among the Samaritans or Gentiles. (10:5) Those places are just not prepared — yet. Time will come.

If one was to be in a church in mission one might hear this as encouragement. The ground is prepared for you. Follow the hospitality for there God has surely made ready for you to be. You are not alone. You’re not Smokey the Evangelist. It is not true that only you can save the heathen. God does that. But, and this is important, you have a part to play. Do it confidently. The soil preparation, the seed, and harvest are all God’s. All you are asked to, please, do is toss seed where they receive you. 

Matthew 10-40-43 Greek Study

Greek Study Matthew 10:40-42

v40 ο δεχομενος (δεχομαι) "he who receives" - or better, "the one welcoming as a guest" = It was expected that a person's agent would be received as if it were they who were making the approach. To not welcome the agent is to not welcome the one who sent them.
υμας pro. "you" referring to the apostles and their mission.
τον αποστειλαντα (αποστελλω) aor. part. "the one who sent [me]" participle serves as a substantive- the Father is the intended sender.
ο δεχομενος (δεχομαι) pres. mid. part. "whoever welcomes".
προφητην (ης) "a prophet" - In a general sense, one who declares the word of God, although for Jews of the first century the word would probably only apply to a person who declared a direct word from God, a "thus says the Lord" word. 
εις ονομα "because he is" – literally to the name  - a semitism meaning "in view of his being "; The sense is of welcoming a person who is a prophet because we know he is a prophet, rather than welcoming him just because he is just a visitor.
προφητου (ης ου) gen. "a prophet's" μισθον (ος) "reward" – idiom = wages. The person who welcomes a prophet receives "the pay" of a prophet. likely the one who welcomes "receives the reward that the messenger of God gives." 
δικαιου gen. adj. "a righteous man's / person's [reward]" - of a righteous person. The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, attributive, as "prophet's reward" above. Possibly in a general sense, "A good man". Also possibly referring to a class of religious scholars, teachers etc. who functioned in Jewish society. The allusion, of course, is to the disciples

v42 ο αν + subj. "if anyone" - a relative conditional clause, 3rd class, where the stated condition has the possibility of coming true.
ποτιση (ποτιζω) aor. subj. "gives" – in a dry clime most insignificant gift that one person can give to another is a cup of water.
ψυχρου gen. adj "of cold water" – i.e. spring water, deep well water. Even today in the middle east, adding ice to cool water is considered a luxury.  
μικρων (ος) gen. adj. "[one] of [these] little ones" - little, small. The adjective serves as a substantive, carrying the sense "insignificant ones" i.e. the socially and political marginal. 
εις ονομα "to the name" - See v41.
αμην λεγω υμιν "truly I tell you" - Serving to underline the following statement.
ου μη + subj. "[that person will] certainly not [lose]" - This construction, a subjunctive of emphatic negation, serves to emphasize the fact that the reward will in no way be removed. 
αυτου gen. pro. "their [reward]" Possessive genitive.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Texts for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 2017, June 18th

First Reading: Exodus 19:2-8a

2[The Israelites] had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain.3Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”
7So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8aThe people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

Psalm: Psalm 100

1 Be joyful in the LORD, all you lands; 
    serve the LORD with gladness
    and come before his presence with a song.

2 Know this: The LORD himself is God; 
    he himself has made us, and we are his;
    we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

3 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise; 
    give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

4 For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting; 
    and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-8

1Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel: Matthew 9:35--10:8 [9-23]

35Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
10:1Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. [9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”]

Greek Study Matthew 9:35-10:15

Greek Study Matthew 9:35-10:15

v35 περιηγεν (περιαγο) imperf. "[Jesus] went through" The imperfect expresses durative action; "Jesus made a tour… "
διδασκων (διδασκω) pres. part. "teaching" modal, expressing the manner of Jesus' going about. 
συναγωγαις (η) "synagogues" i.e. the centers of teaching. 
ευαγγελιον (ον) "good news" της βασιλειας (α) gen. "of the kingdom" Out of deference to the divine Matthew drops "God" and seems to use ευαγγελιζομαι in the technical sense of "gospel" 
μαλακιαν (α) "sickness/weakness” 

v36 ιδων (ειδον) aor. part. "when he saw
εσπλαγχνισθη (σπλαγχνιζομαι) aor. "he had compassion" - he was moved with pity"
ησαν εσκυλμενοι (σκυλλω)Äperf. pas. part. "they were harassed" - distressed, worried, bewildered, confused. Periphrastic pluperfect construction. The people were wondering aimlessly in the truth department – you know, like the Trump administration.
ερριμμενοι (ριπτω) perf. pas. part. "helpless" – literally prostrate, vulnerable. Periphrastic pluperfect construction. 

v37 πολυς "plentiful" - "abundant/plentiful" seems closer to the mark.. Grench soldiers were called “polloi” in WWI, it meant common.   

v38 δεηθητε (διδωμι) aor. pas. imp. "ask" - here making a prayer request. 
του θερισμου gen. "[the Lord] of the harvest" – an idiom, "Turn to the one who owns the harvest".
εκβαλη (εκβαλλω) "cast out" – a strong verb.

4:1 προσκαλεσαμενος (προσκαλεομαι) aor. part. "he called" - summoned. 
δωδεκα adj. "twelve" a new Israel (the 12 tribes) or nothing more than a significant whole number, like a dozen.

2&3 The list of the twelve is paired (sent out two by two?) The lists in the synoptic gospels always have the two sets of brothers first, with Peter at the head of the list and James set before his brother John. The placement of both indicate the relative position of Peter and James in the New Testament church. Limited knowledge is known of the rest: Philip, cf. Jn.1:43ff; Bartholomew, meaning son of Tolmai; Thomas, meaning twin; Matthew the tax collector, cf. 9:9; James son of Alphaeus, the full name serves to distinguish him from James the son of Zebadee; Thaddaeus, a little known apostle; Simon the Zealot / Cananaean; Judas, always listed last.
των ... αποστολων (ος) "of the [twelve] apostles" the sent ones - so named only in Matthew.
ο λεγομενος (λεγω) pres. pas. part. "who is called [Peter]

v4 παραδους (παραδιδωμι) aor. "betrayed

v5 αποστειλεν (αποστελλω) aor. "sent out" The sent ones are sent.
παραγγειλας (παραγγελλω) aor. part. "with the following instructions" - 
μη απελθητε (απερχομαι) aor. subj. "do not go" - Subjunctive of prohibition (as opposed to 28:16).
εις οδον εθνων "among the Gentiles" - into the road of the heathen = Gentile territory.
και .... μη εισελθητε (εισερχομαι) aor. subj. "or enter" – i.e. the mission is to Galilee, not north to Gentile or south to Samaritan territory, or theological, i.e. the gospel must first be proclaimed to the house of Israel, and then to Samaritans and Gentiles (as opposed to Acts.)

v6 δε μαλλον but rather τα απολωλοτα (απολλυμι) perf. part. [the] lost - scattered, destroyed, ruined. "Lost" seems best. 
οικου (ος) gen. "house [of Israel]" - "the sheep which belong to the house of Israel."

v7 πορευομενοι (πορευομαι) pres. part. going (cf 28:16)
κηρυσσετε (κηρυσσω) pres. imp. "preach" λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "this message
η βασιλεια (α) "the kingdom" - the disciples are to communicate is the same one Jesus communicated in 4:17 and interestingly, the same one the Baptist communicated in 3:2. των ουρανων (ος) "of heaven" is  ηγγικεν (εγγιζω) perf. ind. act "palpable" both: now and not yet.

v8 ασθενουντας (ασθενεω) pres. part. "[heal] the weak" - 
εκβαλλετε (εκβαλλω) pres. imp. "cast out
δωρεαν ελαβετε, δωρεαν δοτε "Freely you have received, freely give

v9 μη κτησησθε (καταομαι) aor. subj. "do not take along" - a subjunctive of prohibition. In the sense of "provide for oneself", so "take along in your money-belt."

v10 πηραν (α) "bag" a traveling bag or in this context it may be a beggar's collection bag.
ραβδον "staff" - used as a weapon, so the disciples are being told not to take along weapons of self-defense (although later a "sward" is suggested, Lk.22:36 but that is an offensive weapon). 
αξιος adj. "[is] worth" worthy here the sense is "deserving”.
της τροφης "keep" – idiom = food- a missionary of the gospel; "deserves his rations".

v11 εξετασατε (εξεταζω) aor. imp. "search" - scrutinize, examine. 
αξιος adj. "worthy" – deserving - not referring to a person worthy through law-obedience but one who offers hospitality.
μεινατε (μενω) aor. imp. "stay [at his house]" - the point of this imperative addresses the temptation to accept an offer of better accommodation when having first accepted less respectable digs - the danger of upward mobility!!!! 

v12 εισερχομενοι (εισερχομαι) pres. part. "entering" ασπασασθε (ασπαζομαι) aor. imp. "give [it your] greeting" The "it" is την οικιαν the house which here means "the household". 

v13 αξια adj. "deserving" - worthy. Again I am unsure how to read this word in its context. Probably welcoming hospitality is still in mind, but extending welcoming to the message as well as the messenger. One is a duty, the other a delight
ελθατω (ερκομαι) aor. imp. act. "let [your peace] rest" is likely to refer to the continuation of the prayer for God's peace to fall on the household.
ειρηνη (η) "peace" - well-being. Referring to the peace which the disciples ask God to send upon the household.
επιστραφητω (επιστρεφω) aor. pas. imp. "let [your peace] return [to you]" – a Semitic expression which carries the idea that where something has not been effective, has not achieved its purpose, things remain as they are.

v14 ακουση/ (ακουω) aor. subj. "[or] listen [to your words]" in the sense of "believe/accept". 
εξερχομενοι (εξερχομαι) pres. mid. part. "when you leave / leave [that home or town]" action accompanying the imperative "shake off".
κονιορτον (ος) "dust" - a prophetic action illustrating total abandonment. It was the practice of Jews who, upon crossing from Gentile territory into Jewish territory, to shake the dust off their sandals.

v15 ανεκτοτερον comp. adj. "more bearable" tolerable for the twin cities of evil known for their extraordinary sinfulness, than for a household or village that rejects the gospel.

ημερα κρισεως "the day of judgment" - the lack of articles is typical for the technical expression used of God's eschatological judgment (as in opposition to the prophets who speak of historical judgment.)

You are better at this than you might think

Dont worry! You are better at this than you think. — late 90’s book on parenting infants

Today, we are reading the great missionary discourse and its prologue, Matt 9:35- 10:4. The lectionary being what it is, then launches into part of the missionary instructions but also leaves parts of them out.
To outline it simply: Jesus is immersing himself in the base needs of the people. They are hungry, sick, they are without hope because they do not know of the promises of the Kingdom of Heaven, and they have no one to tend to them. 
There are so many of them.  They are the poor that we shall always have with us. Their need will stand in contrast to the “fewness” of workers. Pray, pray that the Lord send you more workers for only the Lord can ultimately fashion them.
Jesus then bestows on them, the disciples, the church to be, and extension, a franchise, of the powers of heaven. They become not holders but humble middlemen of the powers of the king of creation. 
Now invested with these powers, how shall they carry themselves?
To begin with, they are to do exactly as he has done. 9:35 has a mirror image in 10:7-8. I note that the raising of the dead is one of the charges given. They are to give the gifts they have been bestowed “freely.” In other words: the sharing and giving of the gifts of heaven is not their choice nor is it their possession. They are not masters of the charism given. They are not freelancers. They are not shaman type people who, for a price, treat your ills. But, in mideastern 1st century society, those who received the gifts they brought would have felt themselves indebted. Yet, as they preached the Kingdom of Heaven by whose consent they healed, the indebtedness would probably be pointed to heaven, not the disciples. 
They are to carry no special provisions on their journey. In other words, they are to rely on the natural, customary sense of hospitality that was built into their culture at the time. One welcomed travelers, knowing that in doing so, one kept up a tradition that then meant one would oneself be hosted when one had to travel. Pilch points out that traveling was not at all common in the days of Jesus. The ideal was to stay in ones own place. Pilch further notes that the journeys they embark on are taken during the dry season when everyone was waiting for their crops to ripen so that people were not busy and could indeed host traveler. 
The simplest lesson of 10:8-15 might be that there is a harvest to be gathered. It must be gathered where it has grown. It makes no sense to attempt to harvest a field that is is just plain rocky ground grows no crop. Such a place will be inhospitable to the harvester and simply a waste of time.  There are, however, places that are hospitable. There are place that are ready. Go there! Let God be the judge of those places that are not hospitable. It was God who judged Gomorrah. Maybe you, like father Abraham, can beg for mercy upon it, but you have no business with it right now. Bethsaida, Chorazine, take not: The judgment on Sodom is not just a thing of the past. (11:21)
Our reading of today reads all the way to 10:23. Seems to have two minds. First it warns that there is a very personal price to be paid by the disciples as they are in mission. Our early martyrs will attest to this. They were missionaries, beginning with St Stephen, and suffered death as a result. Willibrod, Winfred, and Boniface can attest to this, all of them murdered by local chiefs who envied their good standing with the people they had ministered to.
Buried in there are two important sentences. “do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you, “ and  “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
To be honest, the first of these — though taken from the parallel in Luke — has rung in my ears ever since seminary. It is like the schoolyard game “Tag! You’re it!” There comes the time when everyone in the room says: “Oh, good, you’re here . .“ and leaves, leaving you behind with the teenager everyone thinks you should now fix, the old person whom no one has confided that her best friend has died, the proud elder who has slipped into dementia and no one wants to be the one saying: “This is it dear . . .” There comes the time to say: “Dad: you are done driving.” No one will take those moments from you, no one will do them for you. Sometimes you are found in these places on behalf of God. Your college roommate notes you went to church and wants to know what it is like to believe but does not know how. Tag, you are it. Don’t worry. You are better at this than you think because it is not you who vouches for God’s honor but God.
But we are more interested in having our opportunities on our terms and by our planning and brilliance. To that says the 10th chapter of Matthew: You are wasting your energy. There are more opportunities ready right now. As a matter of fact, there will be more than you can handle in a lifetime.

The Lord, Jesus Christ, is in charge of this mission, not you. Relax . . No . . Don’t relax. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. Your mission is right in front of you now. Anywhere they don’t actively reject you, you are at work. Rejoice! The Lord attests that he sees the enemy falling from the sky. (Lk 10:18) Trust! All that is needed to do the work has been given. Find your Peace! For where it rests is your place in Heaven’s work.