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Speaking to the Soul: Our Masters

Speaking to the Soul: Our Masters

Week of 4 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 41, 52 (morning) // 44 (evening)

Exodus 32:1-20

Colossians 3:18-4:6(7-18)

Matthew 5:1-10

Most of today’s epistle reading belongs to a tradition in early Christianity that emphasized submission to earthly authorities as a mark of discipleship. Thus, the passage encourages wives to be subject to their husbands and slaves to be obedient to their masters. Instead of trying to overthrow these forms of earthly dominance, the passage simply begs husbands and fathers to be compassionate and slaveholders to be fair. Today, this passage ought to provoke repentance for Christian complicity in the hierarchical inequalities that shape families and whole economies.

Lodged within this text, though, is a reminder that Christian identity has ultimately nothing to do with our service to the masters of this world. And for those of us in circumstances that we feel powerless to change, the passage today has some words of advice: “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters.” Whatever the constraints of our lives, can we practice showing up with our whole selves, setting our intention on serving God alone?

If we can bring our whole selves and a sense of God’s presence to the tasks at hand in our lives, we might begin to seize real freedom. This wholehearted service may direct us not to fulfill earthly demands but to pursue God’s desires for creation’s flourishing. To get to liberation for all of God’s people, we may just need to start from wherever we are, and let a realignment of our wills lead us to a better way.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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