the 4th sunday after pentecost
the PRAYER. . .
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, you are the city that shelters us, the mother who comforts us. With your Spirit accompany us on our life’s journey, that we may spread your peace in all the world, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.
the DEVOTION. . .
Up the Down Staircase is a novel published back in ’64. A film by the same name was released three years later. But it isn’t so much the story that intrigues me. It’s the title. Up the Down Staircase! You see, that’s, pretty much, how we live our life with god! Popular religion has it that god’s the one who doesn’t move. Static, stationary. Unmoved, unmoving. Anchored firmly in the heart of heaven. So, if we want to get nearer to god? Well, it’s up to us! To say our prayers. To sing our songs. To read our bibles. To live our lives. We climb Jacob’s ladder! Each round, every rung, taking us higher and higher! Until, at last, we get through the pearly gates and onto the streets of gold. Unfortunately, as the title points out, we get it backwards!
You see, we’re human beings, not angels. Creatures. Meant to live our lives not in the there and then, but the here and the now. Thus, the “down” part. We’re the ones who don’t move. The ones who CAN’T move. So, when we want to get closer to god – or rather, when god wants to get closer to us – god closes the gap! Getting up from the throne! Leaving heaven behind! Coming to earth! That’s why Jesus says what he does, this week. “Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near!” You haven’t gone up the staircase! God’s come down!
Bob Barndt, pastor