June 23, 2002

Matthew 10:24-39

"A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. Be content - pleased, even - when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what can the workers expect?

"Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now.

"Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in his hands.

"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail-even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.

"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?

"Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut - make a sharp knife - cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law - cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me.

"If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.

<The Message >


1. What do you know that falls in the category of truth which runs either slightly or altogether in a different direction from that of the prevailing wisdom in your family, community, nation, or world? Avoiding bringing it forward in order to avoid conflict is not going to work. Eventually this conflict will surface.

So, if you are being as wise as a serpent in knowing when you will bring your part of truth forward, blessings upon you. However, if you are simply trying to avoid issues or are being intimidated into silence - it is time to stop that and be the part of truth Jesus expects from you.

2. A tricky part of this truth-telling is also having the humility to recognize the ways in which we intimidate others from passing on a helpful word to us. What tricks do you use to avoid responding to a part of truth the larger community has for you. Is it the magic two-year old response of, "No," of the teen response of boredom, or the young adult knowing it all, or the older, "well my experience is... and you can't change it."

Here Jesus can also be heard to remind us that the message of repentance we bring to the world does have an echo that comes back to remind us that repentance is a continual process that is not just for others but includes us.

3. Don't expect that this business of being one with God and Jesus is going to be cozy. It tosses us, evermore, into the cauldron of life. So let's get on with it since there doesn't seem to be an out. Pat answers and avoidance will not suffice. Onward.

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