Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares, she raises her voice. - Proverbs 1
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. - Mark 8
No one can tame the tongue... With it we bless the Lord, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. - James 3
Just when I think I know what's what, Scripture throws me a curveball. In the fullness of time, I am very grateful for this; in the short term, it's really irritating.
Jesus tells his friends that, if they want to be his followers, they will have to follow him to a place that involves a cross. The modern version of this challenge would be something like, "If you want to follow me, you need to proceed directly to the electric chair, or the place where they give you a lethal injection."
Um, no thanks. I like you, Jesus; you're an awesome teacher, and I might even be willing to say that I love you. But I have some plans that don't make room for the cross. I'm glad to wear a cross around my neck in your honor and memory, but it's kind of a lot to ask that you want me to pick up that evil symbol and carry it to the place where it will be used to end my life.
Okay, I can preach about this. But then, just as I form the beginnings of a thought, James tells me that the tongue is both a source of blessings and of curses. I have a hunch he's talking not just about any old tongue, but mine in particular. If the Scriptures I cherish don't speak directly to me, I have no leave to use them to speak to anyone else.
Sometimes we just need to listen to someone's voice other than our own.
So, among other things, we'll hear a heavenly voice singing for us tomorrow. Cara Hill, a member of the Greensboro church graces our sanctuary with presence and voice. And we'll wrestle in worship with what the Gospels call us to undertake in God's name, and what we might properly say about that for those other than ourselves..
We love it when all gather in God's name. God is always worth listening to.