getting out the Word

the 15th sunday after pentecost

the PRAYER …

Gracious God, throughout the ages you transform sickness into health and death into life. Open us to the power of your presence, and make us a people ready to proclaim your promises to the whole world, through Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord.

the READING …

[Jesus] set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice …. mark 7:24-37

the DEVOTION …

Things are so complicated, nowadays. There was a time, here in the church, when things, pretty much, took care of themselves. We’d open the doors and people would come in! Our children! Our children’s children! In the old building, we had a wall full of their pictures! Sixty-five years worth! We weren’t the largest congregation! Or the most prosperous! But it was enough. For us. But over the past generation or three, all that’s changed. Now, there’s so much more to do. Just to survive. Say our prayers. Read our bible. Invite neighbors and friends to join us. We have to be disciples. And frankly, church isn’t all that much fun, anymore! It’s more like work!

It was then I remembered the quote. By Dr. Luther. “If grace depends on our cooperation, then it’s no longer grace!” If grace depends on us, it’s not grace! As “sinners,” we’re saved… by grace! Unearned! Undeserved! Unconditional! But what if that’s how we’re, also, saved as congregations! By grace! By charity! By love! What if it really IS god who grows the church, not us! Not our programs! What if god is STILL doing a marvelous thing! Making all things new! Without our help! Without our permission! And what if evangelism really IS nothing more than Jesus? Not escaping notice? No matter what house he enters? Maybe – just maybe – it’s time… to let go of the bootstraps… sit back…. take a deep breath… and watch god be god, again!

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