Sunday, September 23, 2018
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (19th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 21)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124
Second Reading: James 5:13-20
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:38-50
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
Esther—this great little book! I read it this way: Give it all away. When a door opens—take a bold step forward.
Esther had much to lose. She could have said nothing and for sure she would have been spared. Everyone who knew her real identity would have been lost and she would have been safe. But instead, when the moment came at the feast when she could really have some impact she gave away her safety and took a bold step forward.
We live in a world where people want to live in a cone of safety and security. They want someone else to step up. Society wants the government to fix it. In our neighborhoods when we have problems with the neighbors we would rather turn it over to a homeowner’s association than deal with a neighbor directly.
We spend our lives being clear on the boundaries and quickly say, even if only to ourselves, “Hey, it’s not my problem.”
We walk away when we see trouble at hand. We side step. We don’t risk. We don’t rock the boat. And when the boat is rocked we want safe shore rather than helping to see this through and trusting. We are not the first disciples to struggle.
It is in our giving away our cone of safety and taking a bold step forward that we live the life of Christ. That key verse of Esther 4:14 where good ole Uncle Mordy says, “Perhaps, …for such a time as this.”
We need to hear that—in our lives and in our encounters. We need Uncle Mordy’s voice in our head. “Perhaps, …for such a time as this.” Perhaps God has placed you (us, the church) here for such a time as this. Perhaps God has placed you in this time, this situation, this moment…yes, for such a time as this.
This moment, this moment may be your very moment. This moment may be the very moment that God has called the church to. We can shrink in the face of the moment or we can take a bold step forward.
We can see our life as this door opening through which God’s Spirit goes before us inviting us to step boldly through.
When that door opens. Get up. Go. Step. Be bold; God is with you!
You are not alone. Esther was not alone. Do not hide out—step forward. Give it all away.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus invites the disciples to “give it all away” too. There is no need to reserve the wonder of the works of God. Be bold—be the salt.