St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

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Lessons and Reflections for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, October 1, 2017

Exodus 17:1-7
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

In the reading from Exodus, we hear the people of Israel contending with Moses over the lack of water. Their complaint to Moses is understood here to mean the same thing as doubting God’s guidance, since Moses is following God’s directions in leading Israel. Yet God demonstrates faithfulness and does provide water.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable against the religious leaders who did not believe (“believe” here seems to mean a faithful response) to John the Baptist, and now do not believe Jesus.  The parable is about two sons asked to work for their father…and it’s not what they say, but what they really do, that matters.

Paul writes to the Philippians to encourage them in living the Christian faith.  Christ’s own mindset it to be their way of life.  He was one with God, but offered himself to be emptied and offered in service, even when it meant His death on a cross.  This is the life that is exalted by God, and the life God will work out in those who believe (faithfully respond) in Christ.

Comment: “What Wondrous Love Is This…that caused the Lord of bliss to lay aside his crown for my soul.”  So goes the beloved hymn as it sums up how Jesus empties and humbles himself to come among us as one who serves.  Paul shows me today what it looks like when I allow the gift of God’s love in Christ to take hold and be worked out in me.  Jesus lifts us up into communion with God, so that from that place of power we may be poured out for the work God has for us to do in our world.  So I really need to keep my communion with God!  Am I doing that?  And I really need to go and do the things the Lord asks of me today.  Do I know what those things are?  I need to work this out every day!