Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, September 9, 2018 - Sixthteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Woman of Canaan by Michael Angelo Immenraet, 17th century
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
Mark 7:24-30

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, September 9, 2018 - Sixthteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Greeting
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness
Trusting God's promise of forgiveness, let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Eternal God our creator, in you we live and move and have our being. Look upon us, your children, the work of your hands. Forgive us all our offenses, and cleanse us from proud thoughts and empty desires. By your grace draw us near to you, our refuge and our strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lessons

Old Testament
Isaiah 35:4-7a
35:4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

The Psalm
Psalm 146 Lauda, anima mea
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, O my soul! *
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.

3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.

4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the Lord their God;

5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps his promise for ever;

6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
and food to those who hunger.

7 The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; *
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

8 The Lord loves the righteous;
the Lord cares for the stranger; *
he sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.

9 The Lord shall reign for ever, *
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Hallelujah!

The Epistle
James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17
Warning against Partiality
2:1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith without Works Is Dead
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

The Gospel
Mark 7:24-37
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
7:24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Cures a Deaf Man
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”


Here ends the Lessons

Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Closing Prayer
Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ ore Lord. Amen.

Blessing
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
“Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

"What A Contrast" The Sermon for SUNDAY, September 9, 2018 - Sixthteenth Sunday after Pentecost


"What A Contrast"

The Holy Gospel comes to us this morning from Mark the 7th chapter, beginning at the 24th verse.

7:24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Grace and peace to your from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Our Gospel lesson for this morning contains two healing stories, and they can’t be more strikingly different. In fact many of the commentaries that I read on our text, lamented the church’s decision to pair them together as a single lesson. Yet, it is not as if these stories were pulled from two different sections of Mark’s Gospel. So if Mark chose to contrast these two healing stories, perhaps we should examine them in context as well.

Jesus leaves the familiarity of Galilee, and travels to the region of Tyre, presumably to gain some rest, which the people of Galilee made it difficult for him to achieve. Yet even in this foreign region, Jesus could not go unrecognized as the prophet with healing powers. And so, it didn’t take long for this Gentile woman of Syrophoenician origin to come to Jesus, fall at his feet and beg him to heal her daughter.

But this woman is an outsider. In fact, as one of the commentaries put it, “She was a triple outsider. She is Syrian in nationality, Greek in religion, and female in sex. On top of that, she was outspoken, which meant that she also offended the gender bias that women were to keep silent in the presence [of] adult males, especially a rabbi. She was about as far from the God of Israel that you could get at that time.” End quote [Gail Ramshaw, New Proclamation, 2003]

Now we come to the troubling part of this story. Jesus refuses to heal this woman’s daughter, not only because she was an Israelite, not only because she was of a different religion, not only because she was an outspoken woman. Jesus goes even further, and insults this woman and her people. He says, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

Here, we encounter one of those situations that just naturally tugs at our modern-day, Christian image of Jesus as this really nice, serene, loving redeemer who is the friend of everybody. Perhaps it is a reminder of the fact that Jesus was truly human. He was tired, in need of rest, and had his rest interrupted by this outsider. So he snapped, and referred to her with the common slur that many in Israel used to refer to the Gentiles. It is not fair to give what belongs to Israel to the dogs.

But this woman would not be deterred. She took Jesus’ slur upon herself, and in desperation, retorted, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And upon hearing those words, Jesus had a change of heart. He said to the woman, “For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.” And when the woman returned home, she found her daughter healed.

Following this, Mark tells us that Jesus began his journey back to the Sea of Galilee. On his way, he is encountered by some folks who brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment, and they begged Jesus to lay his hand on him to cure him. Of course, there is no mention here that this man was a member of the house of Israel, or if he, too, might have been a Gentile, an outsider. But there certainly is a distinctively different approach that Jesus takes toward this man in need of healing, than he did to Syrophoenician woman.

In this story, Jesus shows true compassion. We are told that Jesus takes the man to a private place, apart from the crowd, perhaps to calm his fears. Then Jesus uses sign language to communicate to the man what he is about to do. Jesus put his fingers into his ears to indicate that he was about to heal him of his deafness. Jesus spat on the ground, and touched his own tongue, indicating that he was about to heal him of his speech impediment.

Then he looked up to heaven and sighed, indicating that it was God who was about to heal him. Then he said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which means “Be opened.” And the man’s ears were opened, so that he could hear, and his tongue was released, so that he could speak plainly. I think that we can say that Jesus developed a remarkably improved bedside manner.

So what are we to make of this strange pairing of these two stories of healing from Mark’s Gospel? First, I think we need to realize that Mark is writing his Gospel proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of God, to first century Gentile Christians. So why would Mark include this story of the healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, including the unwillingness of Jesus to heal the little girl, and especially his slurring reference to the Gentiles as dogs?

Clearly, if we were to take this story out of context, not only as it appears in our text for this morning, but also out of the context of the whole of Mark’s Gospel, it would not have been a wise marketing decision for the spread of the evangelist’s work. In her commentary on our lesson , Gail Ramshaw points out, and I quote, “Recently, however, being willing to see Jesus as a first-century Jewish male, some commentators have seen in this story the spiritual maturation of Jesus himself. Here, an outsider teaches even Jesus about the breadth of the mercy of God. The woman’s persuasive argument reminds even Jesus about the needs also of women…

We wish that we knew more than we do about how the early Gentile Christian communities dealt with issues of racial and gender prejudice. There is, however, evidence that at least some early Christians communities were ridiculed by outsiders for taking women too seriously.

Since these issues of prejudice and preference remain powerful two millennia later, we must assume that Mark is saying something perhaps about the maturation not only of Jesus, but surely about that of his resurrected community.” End quote.

I believe that Dr. Ramshaw makes an interesting point. Now, I’m not trying to be heretical in my thoughts this morning, in claiming that Jesus could actually learn from the pleas of an outsider to his faith, the breadth of the grace of God. Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God, God’s beloved and only Son, of which I have no doubt. But he was also truly human, in every sense that that might imply.

I’m sure as an infant, Jesus was dependent upon his parents, learned what it meant to live in relationship with his family, developed motor skills and faced the tasks that every child does as they mature as a human being. I also believe, that even as an adult, Jesus continued to learn, as I hope all human beings do, who stand beneath the cross of Christ, what it means to live and grow to reflect the grace of God to those around us.

At the same time, I must also admit, from my study of Scripture that this thought is not a universal endorsement of anything that a person does, is acceptable to God. Yes, I believe this text serves to break down the walls between male and female bias, to call on us to embrace those outside of our faith and culture with compassion. But I do not believe that it is a for us as Christians to embrace every ideology that comes our way.

In this modern age, we have confused reaching out beyond gender, racial and religious bias, with a philosophy of individualism, in which every person has a right to do what they wish, that needs to be embraced by the whole community. The Syrophoenician woman, whose daughter Jesus healed, actually acknowledged that she was a dog, an outsider, who pled for the mercy of God to heal her daughter.

Perhaps the truth that Jesus learned that day, is that we human beings, are all sinners, in need of the grace of God to restore us to a meaningful relationship with God. But I certainly would not interpret these healing stories, which appear back to back in Mark’s Gospel, as an endorsement of anything goes.

Quite frankly, I find it really disturbing, that our church could not discern the difference between these two ideals. The woman whom Jesus healed her daughter, was not demanding that she be recognized for her gender, or for her nationality, or for her religious belief. She was, in actuality reaching out beyond herself, pleading for the grace of God to change her life, and heal her daughter. In essence, she pled to Jesus, God’s very Son, who was above the powers of her own gods. And Jesus acted.

I do not see that kind of contriteness in the way that our country is now headed. We now have schools that have embraced a series of textbooks that teach tolerance for all lifestyles of people, including those of gay penguins to our youngest students. And in those school districts that have adopted them, they are mandatory reading.

In light of my fear for our country, there is only one hope that I cling to. And that is the compassion of Jesus the Christ, who grew in the grace of God from his encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, to embrace the man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, with so much compassion. May God look upon us with his grace, and enable us to experience the healing we need, individually, and as a nation.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, in the person of Jesus the Christ, you came among us to reveal your redeeming grace, and that in Christ, your kingdom is present and open to us. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us a deeper appreciation for your saving grace and empower us to share your love and compassion with those around us. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

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The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission. Sermon written by Rev. Ronald Harbaugh.
Clearly, if we were to take this story out of context, not only as it appears in our text for this morning, but also out of the context of the whole of Mark’s Gospel, it would not have been a wise marketing decision for the spread of the evangelist’s work.

The Morning Prayer for SUNDAY, September 9, 2018


Sunday morning prayer

O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor.

Lord on this special day, I run into Your loving arms. May Sunday be a celebration, filled with thankfulness, where I connect with the presence of Heaven, seek Your beauty and goodness, and cherish special family time together. Come fill my heart afresh with Your love. May it overflow with Heaven's bounty, moving through this rest day and into the week ahead.

Lord on this special day, I run into Your arms. Spend cherished time with family, and find shelter in Your palm. May Sunday be a celebration, full up to the brim, with Heaven's promise ringing loud, And Your love flowing in; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, September 9, 2018


Psalm 143:10 (NIV) Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Read all of Psalm 143

Listen to Psalm 143

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Temor en medio de la enfermedad: Testimonio de sanidad (tercera parte)


Temor en medio de la enfermedad: Testimonio de sanidad
(tercera parte)

Busqué al Señor, y él me respondió; me libró de todos mis temores.
~ Salmo 34:4 (NVI)

Fueron varios los momentos que sentí temor, eso es normal. Aunque recordaba que el temor no era de Dios, era una lucha no sentirlo, en especial cuando los médicos no veían mi recuperación de manera positiva.

Hubo situaciones que nunca olvidaré, como el día que me dijeron que me desangraba y tenían que volver a operarme a solo dos días de la primera operación. O cuando me dijeron que necesitaba mucha sangre y empecé a recibir las transfusiones… trece en total.

En ese mes y medio hospitalizada era tan crítica la condición que, como les dije, el temor lo viví en diferentes momentos. Uno de los más difíciles fue cuando en mi recuperación me encontraron una bacteria que me podía quitar la vida en días. Fue tan grave la situación, que decidieron sacarme del hospital con todo un equipo médico y enfermera, pues mis defensas estaban tan bajas que mi vida corría más peligro si me dejaban hospitalizada.

Amigos, no fue fácil, pues padecí una verdadera batalla contra la muerte, una guerra espiritual.

En medio de mi condición, mi refugio era Dios y mi única terapia y consuelo era escuchar a mi madre leerme promesas de la Biblia diariamente y contarme historias de personas sanadas por Dios. Sin cesar me repetía: «Si Dios lo hizo con ellos, lo hará conmigo».

Aunque era consciente de mi salvación, temía morir y no ver más a mis hijitas. Sin embargo, Dios fue más que bueno, pues prolongó mi vida en esta tierra.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Hubo varios momentos en los que sentí miedo ...

Standing Strong Through the Storm - GRACE


GRACE

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
~ John 1:16 (NIV)

We now consider the most important characteristic in the training of the disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the quality of living the Christian life with grace.

We use the word “grace” to describe many things in life:
  • A well-coordinated athlete or dancer

  • Good manners and being considerate of others

  • Beautiful, well-chosen words

  • Consideration and care of other people

  • Various expressions of kindness and mercy

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God’s acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

Also, grace is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. Grace comes to us free and clear with no strings attached. It is the act of unmerited favor – most often to the down and out.

Christ came down from heaven and he reminds us that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down.

Dr. Donald Barnhouse said it best: “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and lived it. And it was written as a description of how He lived His life. The Apostle John describes Jesus’ glory as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In a world of darkness and demands, rules and regulations, requirements and expectations demanded by the hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus came and ministered in a new and different way.

After commenting on His glory, John goes on to add, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John and the other disciples became marked men. His style became theirs. They absorbed his tolerance, acceptance, love, warmth and compassion so that it ultimately transformed their lives. They too lived their lives demonstrating grace!

Thus grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world. It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate.

RESPONSE: Today I desire to be a person like Jesus – full of grace and truth.

PRAYER: Pray that God would fill your life with the ability to live with the grace of our Lord Jesus.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions - How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180909

"How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds"

Sep. 9, 2018

Oh, Jesus Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, my Prophet, Priest, and Kingmy Lord, my life, my way, my end, accept the praise I bring. How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought,but when I see Thee as Thou art, I'll praise Thee as I ought."

AmyRuth writes,

"Yeah, she really is amazing," I agreed through my half smile and clenched teeth hoping no one would notice.

The topic was a mutual friend who, in fairness, was incredibly talented, and so I wasn't lying when I contributed to the conversation. However, this friend (we'll call her Sarah) had also stayed completely silent in a recent conversation where I felt treated unfairly in a significant way. So, my praises of her many stellar qualities were far from gushing. In fact, you could say it almost pained me to speak truthfully about how wonderful she was as a person because that only reminded me how hurtful and personal I felt her betrayal had been.

It's not like I wanted her to scream and yell or get in someone's face for me. I was simply hoping for a word or two that let me know I wasn't alone in my experience. And as everyone was pointing out, Sarah had a knack for being incredibly insightful and wise. So, I fell quiet and listened, feeling like something was wrong with me while everyone continued to sing her praise.

Fast forward two months, and I was approached by the person who had treated me unfairly. He shared that Sarah had spoken to him several times on my behalf and helped him to work through some personal issues that had caused him to be unfair in the first place. He apologized and offered to sit down with me and find a solution that felt better for everyone involved.

Sarah never said anything to me about the conversations she was having on my behalf and when I thanked her later, she simply smiled and hugged me. Now Sarah is not God, and there are plenty of things that she could learn from this situation as well. However, once I knew the truth of what she had done for me, my heart softened, and my teeth un-clinched when I again had opportunities to praise her.

This made me think of my relationship with God. God's goodness, love, and grace to us is beyond measure, but so often my limited view obstructs my ability to praise.

How often do I feel judged -- like something is wrong with me causing God to reject me when in fact God is for me! Furthermore, God is at work not only as my Shepherd, Guardian, and Friend, but also as the Prophet, Priest, and King for all of humanity.

THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, today we thank You that Your love and grace to us extends far beyond our cold misunderstandings of You at work in the world, and we long to see You as You really are! Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by AmyRuth Bartlett. It is based on the hymn, "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds," which is found on page 487 in the Lutheran Service Book. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
The topic was a mutual friend who, in fairness, was incredibly talented...

Notre Pain Quotidien - Le parfum de Christ

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/09/09/le-parfum-de-christ-2/

Le parfum de Christ


Nous sommes, en effet, pour Dieu le parfum de Christ, parmi ceux qui sont sauvés et parmi ceux qui périssent. V. 15

En nage et couvert de poussière, Bob est descendu de l’autocar qu’il avait pris jusqu’à une ville éloignée. Sa longue journée l’ayant fatigué, il se réjouissait à l’idée de manger avec des amis de ses amis qui vivaient dans la région. Ils l’ont accueilli chez eux, où il a immédiatement ressenti la paix. Il s’est senti chez lui, à son aise, en sécurité et estimé.

Par la suite, en se demandant pourquoi il s’était senti aussi en paix dans un lieu inconnu, Bob a trouvé la réponse à sa question dans 2 Corinthiens. L’apôtre Paul y décrit des gens qui suivent Dieu comme ayant « le parfum de Christ » (2.15). « C’est tout à fait ça ! », s’est alors dit Bob. Ses hôtes avaient « le parfum » de Christ.

Lorsque Paul déclare que Dieu amène son peuple à « toujours triompher en Christ » (V. 14) en répandant le parfum de sa vérité, il évoque une pratique issue de l’Antiquité. Les armées victorieuses d’alors brûlaient de l’encens en marchant dans les rues. Le parfum qui s’en dégageait procurait de la joie à leurs supporteurs. De la même manière, Paul dit que du peuple de Dieu émane un parfum agréable pour ceux qui croient en Christ. Il ne s’agit pas d’une chose que nous créons par nous‑mêmes, mais que Dieu nous accorde en nous amenant à répandre la connaissance de Christ.
Bob est mon père, et ce voyage jusqu’à une ville très éloignée s’est fait il y a plus de quarante ans, mais il ne l’a jamais oublié. Il parle encore des gens qui avaient le parfum de Christ.
Christ répand le parfum de sa vérité par notre intermédiaire.


© 2018 Ministères NPQ
En nage et couvert de poussière, Bob est descendu de l’autocar qu’il avait pris jusqu’à une ville éloignée.