October 9, 2016

Psalms 141-144 -  
I cry loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy... 
Oh listen, please listen; I’ve never been this low.  Rescue me from those who are hunting me down; get me out of this dungeon so I can thank you in public... 
I sat in despair, my spirit draining away, my heart heavy, like lead..hurry with your answer, God!  I’m nearly at the end of my rope...
Point our the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you...Teach me how to live to please you, because you’re my God.  Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland....
    
Blessed be God, my mountain who trains me to fight fair and well.  He’s the bedrock on which I stand, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight...

Reach all the way from sky to sea: pull me out of the ocean of hate, out of the grip of those barbarians who lie through their teeth, who shake your hand then knife you in the back...

Make our sons in their prime like sturdy oak trees, our daughters as shapely and bright as fields of wildflowers.

Matthew 11 -  
When Jesus finished placing this charge before his 12 disciples, he went on to teach & preach in their villages....

Jesus started talking to the crowd about John, the Baptizer, asking them what they expected when they listened to him...

That’s right, a prophet!  Probably the bast prophet you’ll ever hear.  He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote “I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.”...John is the “Elijah” you’ve all been expecting to arrive & introduce the Messiah.  

Are you listening to me? Really listening?  John came fasting and they called him crazy.  I came feasting & they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff.  Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they.  The proof is in the eating

Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going on their way.  “Doom you...At Judgement Day, they’ll get off easy compared with you (x2)”  

Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of Heaven & Earth.  You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people.  Yes, Father, that’s the way you work.”  Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly.

“Are you tired?  Worn out? Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  

Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it.  Learn from the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and learn to live freely and lightly.