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Pillars, Grace, and Rock

Pillars, Grace, and Rock

Friday, May 30, 2014 – 6 Easter, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 85, 86 (morning) // 91, 92 (evening)

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Ephesians 2:1-10

Matthew 7:22-27

Although I was familiar with today’s gospel lesson about building a house on rock instead of sand, my current home sits on a hill. That means that the ground is always shifting underneath us, ever so slowly. We love many things about the house, of course, but the very slight movements of earth make slender cracks appear in the dry wall of the structurally weak parts of the house. We’ve had these cracks repaired, but a few of them are back around the corners of our door frames.

I take these cracks as reminders of another message in today’s Scriptures: “the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.” These words come from Hannah’s song of praise to a God who can radically shift the ground under our feet. Because the pillars supporting the whole world belong to God, he can change people’s elevation in a moment. As the passage says, “he brings down . . . and raises up . . . he brings low, he also exalts.”

When God acts, the weapons of the powerful are broken, and the weak discover their strength; the well-fed suddenly have to work for food, and the hungry are filled; the rich become poor and the poor become rich; and more. If the pillars of the earth belong to God, then all of our own attempts at security and stability are much more vulnerable than they may appear.

All of our Scriptures today ask us to rest our lives on the firmest, deepest foundation possible. We can start with a reverence for the pillars of the earth that are in God’s hands, and that have the potential to reverse or neutralize the imbalances and injustices that result from human attempts to elevate some people over others.

Then, we can ask to rest in the grace that our passage from Ephesians speaks of—the grace that “is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” We can build our lives on God’s gift rather than constructing accomplishments to boast about.

Finally, our gospel passage asks us to build our lives on hearing Christ’s words and acting on them, like a wise person who builds a house on a rock. When rain falls, when floods come, and when winds blow, we aren’t at risk of falling. Lives that are founded on something so substantial can withstand changes and pressures from the atmosphere.

I hope that we can take some time today to rest on the foundation that God’s justice, God’s grace, and Christ’s words can offer us. Nothing will give us a greater sense of stability than digging beneath all worldly sources of security and achievement. Beneath the surface, in the depths of the earth, are the pillars that can truly uphold us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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