Suffering and service

Jesus’ disciples James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus with their mother to ask a favor. They asked Jesus to be allowed to sit on either side of him when he achieved his glory in the kingdom of heaven.

But Jesus said “You have no idea what you are asking for! Are you able to undergo all the trials and sufferings that I must endure?”

“We are able,” they answered.

Jesus said “You will indeed go through the trials that I will go through, but it is not up to me to say who sits with me in heaven. That is something that is decided by my heavenly Father.”

When the other disciples realized what James and John were asking, they were angry because of their audacity. Jesus called all the disciples together and said “The Gentiles have people who exercise power over them such as kings and men of high positions. Things must be different among all who follow me. For you, whoever wants to be great must be like a servant. And whoever wants to be the best must serve everyone. For even I did not come to be served, but rather to be a servant, and even to give my life as a ransom for many people.”

MT 20:20-28, MK 10:35-44

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Gabriel predicts John’s birth

There once was a man named Zachariah who was a priest in the Abijah division when Herod was the king of Judea. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who, like him, was descended from the priestly line of Aaron. Both were honorable people and followed all the commandments of the Lord. They were childless because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly.

Zachariah was chosen by lot to enter the inner sanctuary to burn incense when his division was on duty in the Temple. The entire assembly stood outside praying while he performed this task. An angel suddenly appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Seeing the angel, Zachariah was startled and a feeling of terror fell upon him.

Then the angel said to him, “Have no fear Zachariah, your prayer has been heard! Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. Both of you will be filled with joy and gladness, and many people will rejoice with you at his birth. He will be a champion of the Lord. He must never drink alcohol, because he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will convince many Israelites to turn to the Lord their God. He will serve God with the same kind of spirit and power of Elijah, and will transform the hearts of parents to be like their children, and the hearts of the disobedient back to the wisdom of the faithful, to prepare all the people for the coming of the Lord.

Zachariah challenged the angel saying “How can I know that this is going to happen? Both I and my wife are very old.”

Then the angel replied “I am Gabriel, who stands in the very presence of God. I was sent to tell you this good news. But because you didn’t believe my words, which will come true in due course, you will lose your ability to speak until the child is born.”

Meanwhile, the congregation outside was wondering why Zachariah was taking so long in the sanctuary. When he finally appeared before them they deduced from his gestures (since he wasn’t able to speak) that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He continued to work at the Temple until his assignment was over, and then he returned home.

Shortly after that, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and she went into seclusion for five months. She said “Blessed is the Lord for taking away my public disgrace!”

LK 1:5-25

4 x 6 collage – January 2015

I created my first 4×6 collage at a retreat a few weeks back. When I was given the assignment, I balked at the size. Too small, I thought. I’ve got a lot to say. I made the first one, and then quickly made two more. I’ve learned to appreciate the need to edit my thoughts with this format. It also appeals to my love of collecting phrases and images from magazines. Fortunately, the magazines are free – discards from work. The scrapbook paper is not. I shake my fist at my friend who turned me onto this. Like I need to spend money on a whole new set of crafting supplies…

Wild-tame
wild tame 011915

spiritual landscape (the retreat theme)
spiritual landscape 011015

other way (a reminder to quit butting heads and try things differently)
other way 011015

land-sea (poem)
land sea 011915

hidden treasures
hidden treasures 012515

God’s calling (al
Gods calling 011015