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Devotional Nov 3 2021

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Psalm 72; Neh. 13:4-22; Rev. 12:1-12; Matt. 13:53-58
 
‘What makes You so special, Jesus? We remember you from high school, all gangly and awkward and sometimes late with your homework. Heck, Your sister lives down the street, and her kids are holy terrors. What makes You think You’ve got anything new to teach us? Getting to big for Your britches, that’s what we think!’ Ever notice how we long for a new voice, a new perspective, someone to point the way out of this present chaos and confusion (and friends, it’s always a present chaos and confusion–2021 ain’t got nothin’ on 1847 or 1939 or 1968 or Nov 2008 when it comes to us feeling like the rug’s been jerked out from under our feet)? And then, as soon as we get one, we start to chip away at credentials, to look in corners and check academic credentials, to listen to whispers about ‘I remember her back when’ or ‘I heard someone who knew someone who’s nephew dated her back in 1994, and he said…’ Not that we shouldn’t do our due diligence: I believe in background checks, every staff member at Grace Church has one, and no one works with our kiddos without one either. It pays to do your homework!
 
What I do worry about, though, is that somehow we don’t stop doubting even when everything turns up roses. The background checks are clean–but still, the whispers continue. The resume turns out to have been honest–but still, we doubt that everything’s as promised. Jesus’ listeners are great examples: they have no reason to doubt Him, because what He’s promised, He’s delivered, in spades, and with bonus material for free. But rather than accept that, just this once, they might be getting what the contract said, they start to question His associates. Sure, Jimmy Carter’s a great guy (no judgment on his presidency, barely remember that), but have you seen that Billy? How can Jimmy be as good as he seems when Billy’s, well, Billy…
 
The thing about constantly second-guessing others, though, is that it leaves us very little time to examine our own motives, our own short-comings, our own responsibilities to move things along. If our leaders, rabbis, priests, elected officials, high school teachers, medical professionals, sports stars aren’t perfect and more than perfect, then it lets us on the hook on pursuing perfection–or at least, improvement–in our own souls and relationships. A straying televangelist relieves me from the burden of working on my own wandering eye or greedy impulses. An imperfect senator means I can stay home rather vote because the whole system’s rotten. When we move past due diligence to obsessive peeking into corners and closets, we’re largely avoiding doing our own spiritual housekeeping. And that, friends, is why the good folks of Nazareth get fewer miracles and less attention than they might have needed.
Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson

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Grace Church is the oldest Episcopal parish in the four states area.
Rooted in worship of the Risen Christ, we draw our understanding of His commandment to love one another from Holy Scripture, reason and tradition—and we encourage our membership actively to seek a deeper personal relationship with Christ, a relationship founded in love of God and of neighbor.

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