July 25, 2017
Pentecost 3A
Matthew 10:24-39

 

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

 

True discipleship is a journey that begins with the unconditional love of grace. And as this love is internalized in our experience with others, especially with those in need, we are compelled to take an increasingly more radical stand within the kingdom of God. Even to the point that we might find ourselves consumed with seeking after the kingdom first and only, leaving other things behind for the sake of following Jesus.

 

Such is the story of St. Francis. Francis was born into a family of privilege and wealth. His father was a successful cloth merchant. Accordingly Francis lived a rather carefree life. He was always happy, by all accounts he was charming, and everyone seemed to like him. However a life of “living it up” was eventually tempered by the horror of his experience in war, a subsequent grace filled encounter with a leper, and a vision in which God called him to rebuild a local church that had fallen into disrepair.

 

Francis’ new life was not well received by his Father who became angry with his son when he sold some of his retail goods to raise money to rebuild the church. This led to a public fight in which “father disowned” son, and “son renounced” his father’s riches. In fact tradition says that Francis stripped off his expensive clothes, laid them at his parent’s feet, and walked away naked from his family, his friends, his home and his town!

 

St. Francis discovered that his wealth and his privileged lifestyle were holding him back from following Christ, and his experience of grace, and his continuing experience of unconditional love with “the least of these,” compelled him to literally leave everything behind.

 

      1. To Step Away

 

Too many things holding me down
Too many things keeping this bird on the ground
I hear you speak and I look to the sky
I hear your word and I just know I have to fly

 

I pray that I might find a way
To mount on wings and fly away
I pray for the courage, to step away

 

Blessed are the poor for the kingdom is theirs
Woe is me always fighting for my share
So much to hold onto, so much power to claim
So much of nothing when you speak my name

 

I pray that I might find a way
To mount on wings and fly away
I pray for the courage, to step away

 

Just what’s become of this little blue earth
It’s fallen from creation and I’m not sure just what it’s worth
You’re calling me to leave the world behind
To find myself in you and stop wasting my time

 

I pray that I might find a way
To mount on wings and fly away
I pray for the courage,

 

To step away from the subjective feel good lies
Step way from the first world boundary lines
Step away from the violence of sacrifice
Step way from the good American life and step inside of you

 

Too many things holding me down
Too many things keeping this bird on the ground
I hear you speak and I look to the sky
I hear your word and I just know I have to fly

 

I pray that I might find a way
To mount on wings and fly away
I pray for the courage, to step away

 

 

 

If you like this devotion please share it with others via the Facebook button at the bottom of this page! This week’s song, albums, and other songs by Greg, are available on Bandcamp! Get the music free! Greg’s music is listed for “name your own price.” Just choose $0, and download the song or album.

https://gregronning.bandcamp.com/album/one-more-life

 

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