Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who is Against Us?

Today at ECOOS, our new Deacon delivered the sermon and focused on verse 40 from the lectionary reading Mark 9:38-50. "Whoever is not against us is for us." Curiously, He studiously avoided the parts of the Gospel that talked about auto-amputation of offending body parts, and focused instead on things that keep people together.

Drawing from a recent personal visit to the hospital, and describing the diverse people he encountered in the Emergency Department during his long wait, he noted how many were praying to Jesus. On reflection, I realize that he was also drawing upon the lesson from James. (Go ahead Deacon, quote the verses!)
"Are any among you suffering? They should pray." James 5:13-20.

He also noted a happy toddler in the E.R.
"Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise." James 5:13-20

All those people in the Emergency Room were brought together due to not just illness, but prayer to God.

Today's sermon should be a reminder to us all that we tend to go about our lives thinking that we are in charge. Time and time again our Lord reminds us in His Holy scriptures that we are not in control, He is Lord of all.
Why do we wait for times of stress or illness to our senses and pray for help?

I had a personal experience in the early morning hours today where the Lord said to me, "Okay, you don't like the bumps along My road, and you want to be in charge, fine. I'm outta here!" The resulting feeling of emptiness had me praying for His return, which came amazingly quickly. I know that I should be giving my self to Him during every minute of every day of the secular work week, but it is so very hard to keep from falling into the trap of self-control.

Coming back to the reading from Mark, is it that controlling sinful part of me called "self" that I should amputate? Can I do it by myself as an auto-amputation? Common sense would be to call in a specialist, and in this case, I'd better ask for a referral to the Master Physician, the Lord of all.

And no wise cracks about whether or not the procedure will still be available after "Health Care Reform!"

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