Lord, you gave us yourself as the word, truth and life. You called your disciples by asking them to follow you. Today I heard a message, multiple times actually, over the last few days. But today it settled home in my heart. It was hard to hear, to actually acknowledge, because it means I am to pick up the cross I’ve been wrestling with – and you knew this. Today’s Gospel wastes no time, you start out right away, telling us what you did not come to bring to us. It’s not about frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, nor sugar and spice and everything nice. No nursery rhymes here, your message is one to turn heads.
Matthew 10:34-42 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. 40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
You say my enemies are to be of my own household. Yes we all have our differences, and so many do not know you. Oh Lord, we are hurting families. We turn away from each other and do not know how to love in the right order. I am afraid for all of us, as where is our worth in loving them and not loving your first? You have brought the sword to separate that which hurts us, whether it be family or life. This is hard Lord. I would most often rather just be silent then cause others to become upset or reject me.
Inside my heart, this can’t gone on. The real truth is it’s about separating whatever does not allow you to be first in life. Totally understandable! I do not want anything to get in the way of love for you. Love for another cannot be in front of you, nor power or possessions more important. All I have, you have given me. You loved us first. You created us, for you. And you created our neighbor for us to love. Love God, love neighbor. Just in that order.
Our world is anything but peaceful these days. It is a topic of conversation no matter where you go or who you are with – we are all talking about justice. Yet you gave us the words above – anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and to give to these little ones something as small as a cup of water. We have all been a little one – young and innocent at birth. And you tell us these little ones are your disciples! Starting out little has so much hope, but we soon become big – big in pride, selfishness and ego as we move along in life.
Where is the cross in my life Lord? What is it you want me to carry versus the cross I have picked up? Is it yours or mine? My arms are full yet you give me this beautiful opportunity to walk united with you, carrying my own cross. My cross, my cross, I feel I have many yet none compare with yours. You have not asked me to take up the one you carry. Just the one with my name on it.
You end this teaching by telling us that even if we give one cup of cold water – one little cup of water to one of yours, that person will certainly not lose their reward. How easy. How loving and simple your commands are Lord. Giving up ourself for another, giving over my wants and needs so that another can be heard and come into your light. Surrender my life, surrender my will and desire, take up my cross, without complaining or pushing it off to another.
Woe is me Lord, for I am a sinner, selfish and a pleasure seeker. I know not this heavenly kingdom you speak of, this reward, but only my own world in which I live, a world that disappoints all the time. Use your sword my Lord and clear the way to everlasting life. Cut off these sinful tendencies.
Help me dear Lord to remember your words, to not get myself so big I can’t see you. Help me be your disciple, not just privately, but publicly, becoming vulnerable, so that others may be drawn to your love first. Help me continue to say YES to you and to all your ways Lord, for I truly desire them. May your power and love keep me flowing in the river of grace. May I walk this way the rest of my life; loving others by loving you first, then showing them and leading them to you.