Wed, 5 February 2020
O proclaimers of the faith
even unto death,
death on a cross,
you who have followed
in the way of our Lord
loving your enemies
even as they killed you,
encouraging your brothers
even with your last breath –
may the blood you shed not be forgotten
by those of the nation in which you preached
and by all souls who seek God;
may it nourish the land
and bring it to bear much fruit
Pray that we who are so fearful here
may find the faith and courage
and so be blessed with the same grace
that imparts the peace of the kingdom.
Wed, 5 February 2020
(1Kgs.2:1-4,10-12; 1Chr.29:10-12; Mk.6:7-13)
“Yours, O Lord, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.”
Solomon begins his reign, and the apostles begin their mission. But how different is their manner of rule. Solomon sits in sovereignty upon a throne, while the apostles are sent in poverty to all towns. Solomon’s reign is of the physical universe, with the riches of the world at his disposal; whereas the twelve apostles rule in the kingdom of heaven, shown by the Lord’s “giving them authority over unclean spirits.” They go forth with “no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purses in their belts,” “preaching the need of repentance,” the dust upon their feet. Solomon remains within the walls of his palace, well-guarded and with all “riches and honor,” seemingly of “grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory.”
Now let us not think that the riches themselves are evil, for these are a gift from God (rewarding Solomon for his initial desire for wisdom above all else); but it must never be forgotten that, as David declares to God at the time of his son’s anointing: “Riches and honor are from you.” His always are the majesty and the glory. If Solomon would remember this, if he would heed the Lord’s words to David’s sons to “remain faithful to [Him] with their whole heart and with their whole soul,” observing always His commands – his kingship would be blessed. But Solomon, too, shall sin, and worse than his father: he shall turn to worship of other gods. And the sons that follow shall only continue the decline, necessitating the reign of Christ to enter in.
So, humbly do the disciples of the Lord go forth, though with the greatest of power. They call for the repentance of all proud souls, possessed of the throne of this unholy world. The Twelve “expelled many demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many cures,” thus bringing the kingdom of God to this world; and we are called to follow them, in the same poverty. None of this can we do if our hearts are set upon the riches of this world. Empty must we be of the desire for the food of earthly security – into the Lord’s hands we must utterly place our lives. Only then will we be rich in Him “from eternity to eternity.”
Splendor awaits us all, brothers and sisters, in the cross we carry upon this dusty earth.
O LORD, if we follow in the way of your Son,
we shall share in His power.
YHWH, yours are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory. You are exalted over all and have dominion over all. Yet your sons go out with nothing, nothing but the Cross. In this alone do they find your authority and power; in Christ alone are all men saved.
It is not upon the throne of this world your Son sits, with gold rings and a royal crown. No, His crown is of thorns and He is stripped of even His clothes. And just so naked must His disciples be, bereft of all attachments to this place, trusting entirely in your grace. O LORD, let us go forth strengthened by faith!
How shall we find our blessing, dear God, the blessing of your presence in our hearts and in our souls? How shall we become your very temples in this world? Write your NAME upon our souls, that no evil spirit will have power over us, that we might do your will in all things and so find your eternal blessing.