Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24), Year C

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 and Psalm 66:1-12 •
2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c and Psalm 111 •
2 Timothy 2:8-15 •
Luke 17:11-19

Once, while in graduate school, while Matt was thrashing around
attempting to dream of a future, he sought council in his friend
Scotty. Matt told Scotty the big dreams he had, he told him the depth
of vagueness he could not see through, and he shared with him a
general hope that somehow by not making a vocational decision
something might just magically 'show up' that was right. Scotty wisely
reflected, "Matt, that all sounds wonderful, but eventually you are
going to have to start chopping wood and carrying water."


It is easy for us to all get sucked in to dreams of grandeur. We hope
for the infamous aligning of the planet. We get caught in our own
expectations of how something Should look or how it Ought to be. We
project on to others and other situations what we think they might
want us to do or be.

And often, other solutions show up. Many times less fanfare also
accomplishes the same task. For some reason we like to complicate
things when they do not need to be complicated. We can find ourselves
dreaming of other places and other tasks that are weeks or even years
away from today, and as a result we lose our chance to experience

Think about the refreshing satisfaction that comes from a clean pile
of dishes or a freshly raked yard.

There is healing found in simple acts of obedience in the present.

Jeremiah sends word of behalf of The Lord that the folks who are in
exile in Babylon....a long ways from home....should make the best of
it there in the foreign land. Spend some time with this statement:
"seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and
pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your
welfare." Wow.

Psalm 66 is really full of positive messages expressed through stories
/ memories of painful / frightening days. The writer is praising God
for turning the sea in to dry land...of course this was so they could
escape torment and torture and slavery; the writer praises God for
power and might....within the context of enemies rising and attempting
to overthrow them; the writer praises God for keeping us among the
living, testing us, trying us, bringing us in to the net, letting
people ride over our heads, and taking us through fire and
water....and then bringing us in to a spacious place. This must be one
of the earliest examples of finding the silver lining on a storm

In one of the great stories in all of scripture we see Naaman (the
commander of a foreign army who has some sort of skin disease) going
to a foreign land to be healed by someone he does not know. Elisha
offers him a simple solution toward healing, and Naaman refuses to do
it. He wanted it to be more complicated than that. Why is it we want
healing to be more complicated? Why do we try so hard to create a
situation where we must earn healing?

We've struggled with the Timothy text. There is a tone of "Keep it
Simple" to this week's reading. An overarching concern of the author
of this letter is to warn Timothy about "false teachers," those who
were circulating an altered version of Christ's teaching. The writer,
throughout the letter, is warning against being sucked in to things
that aren't true, that do not matter. Here, a portion of a hymn
reminds us that if we believe, we live. If we work, we participate in
God's reign. Even when we can't do what is expected, we are still

In Luke we see Jesus meeting 10 folks who had been ostracized because
of a skin disease. They seemed to understand how important the present
moment was.....they immediately beg for Jesus to heal them. Jesus does
not bring down a bolt of lightening, he does not use a magical cloth,
he does not even spit in the dirt. He just tells them to go and see
the priest. And they are healed. All they had to do was listen (in the
current moment) and obey his simple direction, and they were healed.

Simple obedience in the present moment. Where is there space for this
simple obedience in our daily lives?

we like to complicate things.
No, really, we do.
We get involved in the process,
in the fanfare,
in the details.
And we don't see what is
right in front of our faces.
Help us to be present
with what shows up
each and every hour
of each and every day.
And help us rejoice
in how Your hand
is at work.

© matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world;
we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words.
May Grace & Peace be with you.

No comments: