Week of Epiphany 4, Year One
[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 72 (morning) // 119:73-96 (evening)
It’s been a few years since I last pitched a tent, but I remember the basic procedure: find a campsite, lay the waterproof footprint, hammer in the stakes, stretch out the rain flap, etc. My little “two-man” tent is among my most prized possessions. But today’s first reading includes a bold invitation to step beyond this trusty tent of mine . . . or beyond whatever safe and contained spaces keep us most comfortable.
Through the voice of a prophet, the Lord says to Israel, “Enlarge the site of your tent and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” The call here is to gamble big, to spread out and to stretch out, to strike deeper with our tent stakes so we can go the distance with our cords. The call is to hold nothing back as we stretch, grow, and stake our claim on whatever piece of the kingdom God has entrusted to us.
I must admit that this call could raise some doubts and fears. Will this risk pay off? If we build it, will people come?
The key seems to be in the basic characteristics of a tent: No matter how big it gets, it stays flexible and portable. As long as we can let ourselves stretch, and as long as we can move if we need to, there’s no reason in the world to hold back. How can we expand our scope, lengthen our reach, and unfurl ourselves for the kingdom today?
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.