In addition to her many other duties with UK’s Cooperative Extension, Jeanne Badgett has been on the forefront of helping Kentuckians mask-up during Covid. She works with people throughout the Commonwealth supporting, training, and encouraging them in their mask making endeavors. Jeanne is using her gifts to make a difference!
Thank you, Jeanne, for helping to protect all of us during these days!
Let us not forget that our common life is dependent upon each other’s toil.
Compline Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer
I pray the above regularly as part of our nightly 9:00PM prayer time. Each time it reminds me that we are interdependent. Never to be an island unto ourselves – yes, even us introverts – but rather a vital part of a larger picture.
Stewardship is bigger than a church budget. It is one of the key practices which God uses to mold our life in the image of Christ and build the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As Matthew 25:14-30 (Jesus’ concluding parable) describes, God gives gifts with the expectation that they will be invested not for our profit but for the Kingdom’s. Of course, since we are part of the Kingdom of God we too benefit as seen by the servants who are told, “Well done good and faithful servant, you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of the master.”
Stewardship of God’s gifts brings about joy as we are part of a transcendent purpose. And that brings us back to the prayer above. Let us never forget that our common well-being is dependent on the stewarding of our individual gifts.
Let me add my voice to the great multitude thanking our healthcare workers. They always stand guard over our health but in the past eight months it has gone to a new widespread level. Each night there is a group who gathers to pray. [BTW…it’s a zoom call and you are welcome to join! Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll share the link] We regularly pray for strength for all of our frontline workers whether they be in squad cars, firehouses, or our hospitals. And I believe that these days it may be even more pressing to pray.
There is much talk about what the future will hold when the pandemic is over. This piece, which is a few years old, is a good reminder that predicting the future is not helpful. In fact, true futurists consider future-predictors as ‘amateurs’. The professionals have a different take on their role. It is not predicting the future but noticing the present and how it is different from the past that is most helpful. How to do that? Being open to facts, listening closely to those around you, watching for trends, and most of all being flexible are all good habits that may very well lead us to be on the forefront of whatever changes may be taking place.
And now the prophetic task is not blueprint or program or even advocacy. It is the elusiveness of possibility out beyond evidence, an act of imagination that authorizes the listening assembly to imagine even out beyond the ken of the speaker.
Reality, Grief, and Hope by Walter Brueggemann
I warned you about more Brueggemann!
Elusiveness of possibility out beyond evidence.
That is the work of the prophet and I would say it is the role of the church. Each week when we meet in person or virtually, it is staking a flag that we believe there is a God and a way of living that leads to life. I often say that where the presence of God is all things are possible. How timely that message is right now. But when I think about it…it is never untimely!
The bridegroom did not return when expected…from The Message translation
The parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 hinges upon the above point. Without the delay, we would never have seen the difference between the wise and foolish. For all were invited, brought lamps, got drowsy, slept, awoke, and trimmed their lamps – but only the wise brought extra oil and were therefore present when the bridegroom arrived allowing them to 1) enter, and 2) enjoy. It’s not enough to be invited! It’s much better to get into the party. And the difference boils down, in this parable, to some brought extra oil.
When the finish is delayed it may cause us to –
Question God’s love
Question what we have done wrong
Jesus is more concerned about our readiness/preparation than his return’s timing.
How do we run a race without knowing where the finish line is? Three parables about the judgment in Matthew 24-25 show what it takes to run the race:
Take care of your household, bring extra oil, use your talents
1. Community connection (household caring)
2. Spiritual practices (oil filling)
3. Serve others (talent stewarding)
None of the above are news to us. These are foundational practices we have heard from the earliest moments of our faith journey. Be a part of a church. Read your bible and pray. And make sure to take care of others. Let us not grow tired of the very practices that God sends to help us run the race and run until the finish line. Rather than look for the novelty may we rededicate ourselves to the tried and true.
Congratulations Susan Holt for being named Teacher of the Week. What a great TV clip above that celebrates her accomplishments! Susan sees her teaching as a calling in life to nurture the body, mind and the spirit of her students. I love that she doesn’t have students but family members. This is what making a difference looks like!
Please join me in continuing to pray for our educators and their work with our kids. We are blessed to have many in our family Downtown. They are truly unsung heroes.