Sunday, July 3, 2016

The ultimate e-vo

Dearest e-votees,

November 21, 2007 is when I first posted an e-vo on blogspot. Today's post marks the 500th and final e-vo that will be posted to this site.

It has been a blessing to be able to write and express theological musings on the lectionary readings (and occasional diversions into the Bible in 90 Days and other special foci). It has been a blessing having you along as part of this. My hope and prayer is it has been a blessing for you.

I'm sure I will find some other avenue/vehicle for writing and devoting but this one has run its course. Thank you for your readership and encouragement along the way. Blessings.



1 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5 For all must carry their own loads.

6 Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.

7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16 As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Galatians 6:1-16, NRSV

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’


16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20, NRSV

Consider this question:

If you could do anything you wanted with the guarantee that you would not fail what would you choose?

Be honest now: Would you pursue gratifying some aspect of your flesh (whatever that might mean to you) or would you set your sights on a more spiritual goal?

What level of commitment would you be willing to make to bring this goal to pass? Would you put in the requisite 10,000 + plus hours to gain competence (as discussed in Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). Would you be willing to endure a grueling training montage a la any of the Rocky movies? The guarantee that you will not fail does not equate with an easy path or no effort on your part.

How focused would you be on achieving your goal? How would you "test your own work"? (see Galatians 1:4 above). What if someone needed your help and interrupted your progress? Would you be willing to help bear another's burden? What if someone sinned against you? Would you be willing to work towards reconciliation offering forgiveness?

What would you be willing to walk away from or set aside in order to attain your goal? What dust would you wipe from your feet? What would you relegate to the rear view mirror?

What would be the measure of your success in attaining your goal? How would you know when you have arrived?

Consider Jesus:

He could certainly pursue any goal in all of creation. Greater minds have wrestled with and much theological ink has been spilled over if Jesus could fail at a goal he might choose. We'll leave that for another time.

Jesus chose a goal: to inscribe your name in heaven.

Jesus chose not to sate his flesh and slake his carnal thirsts but rather to take on flesh that we might take on eternal life (beginning now, not upon our deaths). This was a goal of the highest spiritual nature.

Jesus put aside heaven and his divine privileges to become one of us. He took on the form of a slave. He gave all that he had for a world that often didn't recognize him and, when we did, was often abusive to him. He endured all manner of shame and torment which landed him firmly on the cross.

While chasing after this goal Jesus was supremely interruptible by needs around him. Healings, feedings, deliverances, restorations, teachings, etc., etc. pressed in on him often. He kept his focus on the cross but certainly engaged the needs on all sides. He lived the cruciform life.

Jesus refused to let temptations, hatred, prejudice, spiritual haughtiness or other things cling to him and obscure the work before him. He wiped those forms of dust off his feet as surely as he washed the feet of his disciples. He forgave those who wronged him from the cross, throughout his ministry and to every one who comes to repentance. His forgiveness is a sure as his determination to wash the feet of even Peter and even Judas at the Last Supper.

Jesus' goal was to inscribe your name in heaven. He has done all that he could do to make your in right standing with God. Heaven is open to you. Eternal life is here for you now. How will Jesus' know that his goal of inscribing your name in heaven is complete? Good question.

Consider this new question:

Presuming your name is inscribed in heaven, what would God have you do?

Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ out Lord. Amen.

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