Tag Archives: calling

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 9

Track 1: City of David, City of God

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

Dynasties seem to come and go. Today, things seem to be falling apart at the seams. But let us look at a case study of King David for understanding. Reading from 2 Samuel:

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.   (2 Samuel 5:1-5)

Unlike King Saul, David was obedient to God. As long as he kept the commandments of God, David was blessed by God. He celebrated his reign by building the city which he named after himself:

David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inwards. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.   (2 Samuel 5:9-10)

The psalmist this city, but from a much broader perspective:

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised;
in the city of our God is his holy hill.

Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion,
the very center of the world and the city of the great King.   (Psalm 48:1-2)

The city of David was to be called the city of God. We might say that David laid the foundation of the city, but we would be missing the true foundation. David’s kingdom did not remain. Jerusalem was ultimately captured and the temple was destroyed. Israel had once more turned against God and worshipped foreign gods. What lay in ruins, however, did not remain so.

God has laid a foundation for the city long before David. God made a covent promise to Abraham that he would never abandon. He showed Abraham his future city in a vision. Through Abraham never actually saw Jerusalem he looked forward to it. Reading from Hebrews:

For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.   (Hebrews 11:10)

Though we may not see it with our eyes right now, God is building his city in the midst of a world in decay. But a new day is coming soon.

The Apostle John was given a vision of this city:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”   (Revelation 21:1-4)

His glorious kingdom is coming. He is preparing the new Jerusalem even now. Do we see it? We will be given an early taste of his glory when we join him, by faith, He has a place for each of us in his millennial reign. The best is yet to come.

 

Track 2: Suggestions

Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm 123
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

The Old Testament reading from Ezekiel is about the calling and commissioning of the prophet. The Gospel reading has to do with calling and commissioning of the disciples. Taken together, we get of how God Equips his servants for ministry. In both cases God warns his people of the opposition they will face. But with his anointing they will prevail. Today, we have that same calling. We need that same anoiting.

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Saint Barnabas

Son of Encouragement

Today we celebrate the life and ministry of Saint Barnabas, the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. He was more than a traveling companion. Barnabas was largely responsible for encouraging Paul to undertake an active ministry in the first place.

We know about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. We know that Jesus Himself called Paul into ministry. Nonetheless, Paul was not easily accepted as an apostle of Jesus by the leadership in Jerusalem. He had been persecuting the Church. Barnabas, however, looked at Paul through the eyes of Christ. He rescued Paul and presented him to the apostles, testifying that Paul was indeed a true believer. This was typical of Barnabas. His name meant “son of encouragement.”

Barnabas was chosen along with Paul for a special mission:

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.   (Acts 13:1-3)

This was the beginning of the great mission to the Gentiles. Barnabas and Paul were willing to travel without special requirements or treatment. They endured great hardships for the Gospel. They were willing to follow the instructions which Jesus gave His disciples concerning the conduct of ministry:

Jesus said to the twelve, “As you go, proclaim the good news, `The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food.   (Matthew 10:7-10)

What can we learn from Barnabas about our own ministry? He did not care what others thought or said about Paul. He listened only to what God was telling him. He wanted the praises and approval of God more than that of human beings.

A positive attitude is helpful. Prayer and fasting is preparation. The support of a community is vital and of absolute necessity. A willingness to be set apart by the Holy Spirit for ministry directed by God and not by our own desires. Perhaps this last one is the most difficult. The Holy Spirit may lead us into difficult places where we must rely solely on God.

We may not be asked by God to leave home and job. We may, however, be asked to give up some of our cherished beliefs about ministry. We may be asked to leave our comfort zones. We may be required to work with others who are not on the approved list. We might just be called to offer encouragement and support to others in their ministry. God is still calling his Barnabas’s.

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