Feb 26, 2022
(Sir.27:4-7; Ps.92:2-3,13-16; 1Cor.15:54-58; Lk.6:39-45)
“Be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord.”
Brothers and sisters, “in the Lord your labor is not in vain,” for “the just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.” If you are “planted in the house of the Lord,” “vigorous and sturdy” shall you ever be, “bear[ing] fruit even in old age.” You shall remove “the wooden beam” that plagues your eye and thus find the vision to remove the splinter from the eye of your brother. You will be like your teacher, like the Lord, sharing in the power only He possesses.
“When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” And we must be trained, we must be tested in tribulation, molded in the furnace of the Lord’s chastising Word. We must know that “a good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit,” and so if there is rottenness come from us, we must cast it in the fire. For only goodness should be born from the store of our heart, and that in abundance, else how shall we be called disciples of Jesus… how shall we be like Him in every way? Falling short of His perfection will not get us where we want to be: we must see that “this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility.”
Our readings today equate work with speech, the quintessential human activity, one which indeed shows “the bent of one’s mind.” And so when the Lord says, “From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks,” He indicates not only the words passing our lips but all the actions that follow in their wake. By these fruits, as by our words, shall we be tested and judged. Thus must our hearts and our words and all our actions be founded in Jesus, the tree of life.
“The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had.” Only by a man’s fruit shall you know him. And what does your fruit speak of you? What does your speech reveal? Do you “sing praise to [the Lord’s] name” in all you do; do you declare the glory of the “Most High” with every word? Brothers and sisters, only what is hard and true is lasting; only what is rooted in Him can stand the test of holy fire. Perform all your labor according to the mold Christ prepares, and your fruit shall reach unto heaven.
Written, read, and chanted by James Kurt.
Music: "Branch of the Vine" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, remove the wooden beam from our eye
that we might praise you with all our lives.
YHWH, let us be fully devoted to your work and our labor will not be in vain. Rather, planted in your House, we shall flourish and bear fruit even in old age. O let us produce good from a good heart!
Indeed, it is of the heart the mouth speaks; from what is in our heart come our words and all our actions. And so, how much do we need you to be present within us, O LORD; without your Son how shall we find victory over sin and death, which so pervade this dark place and hover before our eyes?
Let us not be blind, dear LORD. Let us not fail to recognize our faults, our shortcomings before your holy light. Let us freely subject ourselves to the tribulation that shall purify our hearts, our thoughts, our words and actions… that we might reflect your glory even in this world, doing your work all our days and coming to immortality with Jesus your Son.