Scripture: Matthew 8:28-34
Key verse: (34) Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
Reflection: I just come to church for peace and quiet. Have you heard or said that? I have. I am so grateful for our Roman Catholic friends whose churches on any given day of the week can deliver you into a stillness and silence that for a moment even the craziest of days cannot penetrate. Light a candle, get on your knees, offer prayer: I deeply cherish these gifts and opportunities. As we celebrate the Reformation this year might we also grieve what we lost too?
All to say that we call our sacred space a sanctuary for a reason for we hope that all of our churches in any community might provide respite and release to weary and troubled souls. But full disclosure: Jesus will mess up your life. Like a money changing table in the temple, Jesus will flip your reality over and kick you out of your calm, complacent ways by inviting you into the world that he so loves. And that world is a hurting one. And confusing. And full of trouble. And to love Jesus who loves the world is to risk getting caught up in it all and greatly troubled because of it. No wonder when the town saw what Jesus could do they asked, begged says the text, for him to leave.
There is deep peace to be found in Jesus, but the peace is a consequence more than reward. It’s a peace found when life is claimed, love cultivated, stress endured, trouble faced, lies confronted, sins forgiven. That’s why it’s a peace that passes all understanding. It’s a peace given despite, maybe because of, all that is swirling above and within.
Jesus. He will mess up our town and our lives. Thank God!
Prayer: Holy friend, guide my feet today so that where you are I may be as well. For with you there is abundant, joyful, messy life. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].