Year A Proper 16 WEDNESDAY, 26 August 2020
Video Service from St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA
Collect: Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.’ (For not even his brothers believed in him.) Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, ‘Where is he?’ And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, ‘He is a good man’, others were saying, ‘No, he is deceiving the crowd.’ Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
When we choose to lead, we put ourselves out there. As we are in our second week of political conventions, putting oneself out there, and even getting shots from one’s “side” or even “friends” is not out of the question.
Jesus sends his disciples to Jerusalem for the Festival of Booths, the Summer Harvest Festival. He attends secretly, like we see in books about princes or princesses sneaking out of the castle. He wanders through the crowd anonymously. And there he is able to hear what people think of him.
Some think him a demagogue, some think him a good guy. He was not ready to be exposed and potentially threatened so he kept quiet (at first, keep reading if you want to know more).
Leading, putting out ideas and ways to get there, will always cause problems. There will always be division if something of value is getting done, AND value is always in the eye of the beholder. If you are making no enemies, you are probably selling ice cream. If you are getting anything done, especially something meaningful or life-changing, you will have people opposed to you. Always.
It is hard when you get attacked for doing what is right. It hurts.
Here is a poem I always think to when I someone mis-represents my intentions or accuses without fully understanding or taking the time to ask me about whatever it is that got them so worked up.
People are often unreasonable,
Illogical, and self-centered;
Love them anyway.
If you are kind,
People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
You will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
People may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
They may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
It is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway.
May God guide our steps, and strengthen us when we are like Jesus and getting attacked for what is good. Amen