Our hands - Reflections - 9-1-16

 Texts at Gloria Dei 

 for Sunday 
 September 4, 2016

 Romans 12:1-8
 Luke 9:10-17

For the month of September, Gloria Dei is moving away from the Revised Common Lectionary. We are focusing on God’s call to us as a community of faith. Because it is helpful for me to be on the same page as everyone else around here, I will ponder the “specially chosen texts” both here and in the Growing in Faith Together posts.  But in case you would like to keep up with the rest of the Church, I will list the lectionary texts we are not using each week and daily readings related to them at the bottom of each post. 

We have two texts for this Sunday: The first, from Romans, describes how one needs to recognize that s/he is a part of a bigger picture in God’s eyes; one part of a “body”, all parts are equally important; no part should think more highly of itself than others. The other text from Luke describes an important teaching moment with Jesus and the disciples.

These past 3-4 years Gloria Dei has walked a rather rocky path in terms of staff illness, deaths, and vacancies. There were times that I felt like the disciples must have felt when Jesus said “You feed those 5000 people”.  What?!?  But I don’t have what it takes.

How about you? Have you ever felt that you were asked to do something so far out of the realm of possibility as to be laughable? How did you manage?

It is also easy in those situations to feel like a superhero and that all things depend on me. But, as it turns out, the whole congregation worked together to get through it. Each person did their part, each one used their particular gift for the good of all. None of us did it alone. 

How about you? Have you ever felt it was all up to you? When did you realize that you needed other people? And/or have you been around people who act like it is all up to them and your gifts in the situation have been pushed aside? 

In the middle of those both those experiences - and both those texts - God is in mix.

I tend toward the God doesn’t “make bad things happen” understanding of life. Sometimes life is just crummy. But, I also tend toward the opinion that God is present in the midst of the things that happen. And that God’s presence makes some kind of a difference there.  

So now, imagine that part about God being present happens because you are the bearer of that “presence in the midst”. We often miss the message “you feed them”.  Stop wringing your hands. Act and God will act along with you – God will act through you. God's work. Our hands.

And what is sometimes even harder to catch on to is “you feed them together with others”. It is so easy to blame God and play victim AND/OR to be curved inward - focused on your navel and your problems AND/OR to get the idea that you alone are the answer - you must be tough and get it all done. Paul uses two concepts: transformation and humility. Listen for God’s call. Remember God gives the gifts. 
Remember they are to be used in community. And that each gift is necessary and not better than any other.

God has created/graced each person with gifts that are meant to be shared for the benefit of others and used alongside other gifts. God calls us to get out there and “just do it”. 

Your comments are always welcome.

See the G.I.F.T. post for Sunday September 4 for more ways to reflect on the texts.

Revised Common Lectionary texts for 9/4/16:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 
Psalm 1 
Philemon 1-21 
Luke 14:25-33 

Sunday   Luke 14:25-33
Monday   Psalm 101:1-3
Tuesday  1 Timothy 4:6-8
Wednesday   Luke 18:18-22
Thursday   Psalm 51:1-4
Friday   John 10:11-21
Saturday   Exodus 32:1-6
Sunday   Luke 15:1-10

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245