Proper 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 119:49-72 (morning) // 49,  (evening)
2 Corinthians 7:2-16
Our readings this morning give the greatest possible discouragement to anyone scanning the horizon or scouring the news for secret signs from God. The first reading warns against prophets who rely on dream interpretation and who predict omens or portents. Even when those omens appear, the passage instructs, “you must not heed the words of those prophets . . . for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord God with all your heart and soul.” When given a choice between trusting signs and omens, or trusting the love in our hearts and souls, we should trust the love that God has shaped within us.
The gospel also warns against religious leaders who point in all directions for signs of God’s presence and power. Jesus says, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Jesus wanted people to see the reign of God right in front of their faces, right by their sides, and deep in their hearts, through his healing and inclusive ministry.
Instead of craning our necks, squinting our eyes, or deciphering signs, let’s rest assured that we can’t possibly miss the presence of God with us, or the love and justice God intends for us. God’s presence, love, and justice are as un-missable as lightning that “flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other.” And with a striking metaphor, Jesus assures us that the signs will be as obvious as scavenger birds indicating the presence of carrion: “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
We can’t miss or mistake the God of love revealed in the ministry and self-giving of Jesus. Although God’s love has mysterious depths and often works beneath the surface in un-observable ways, God’s love is also transparent, obvious, staring us right in the face in Jesus Christ and in many other manifestations of love and justice, here and now. Let’s not miss it 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.