When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection…
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27:27-31)
The crowd stripped Jesus of his clothes
– the same man who said “if anyone wants to take your coat, give your cloak as well.”
Forgive us when we violently take things that should be shared.
The crowd mocked Jesus with jeers and taunts
-the same man that was hailed as the true King with waving palms and “Hosanna” shouts.
Forgive us when we lie about ourselves and about you.
The crowd spat on Jesus
– the same man who with his spit, made mud so that a man born blind might see.
Forgive us when we take the good in life and use it harm instead of help.
The crowd struck Jesus
– the same man who said “if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”
Forgive us when we ignore your commands and act in violence.
In these insults and in this violence, we see ourselves; we join the crowd that has crucified you:
you the Messiah,
you the Prince of Peace,
you the Good Shepherd.
And from the crowd, we see that you
silently bear the insults
bear the pain
bear the violence
and finally bear the cross.
All out of love for us.
Forgive us when we join in violence and sin. Remind us of your costly love made manifest on the Cross. Amen.