The privilege of holding a hand

Jesus was throwing out a demon that causes muteness. When the demon was gone, the man who couldn’t speak began to talk. The crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He throws out demons with the authority of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.” Others were testing him, seeking a sign from heaven.

Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland, and a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. If Satan is at war with himself, how will his kingdom endure? I ask this because you say that I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul. If I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then by whose authority do your followers throw them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. But if I throw out demons by the powera of God, then God’s kingdom has already overtaken you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are secure. But as soon as a stronger one attacks and overpowers him, the stronger one takes away the armor he had trusted and divides the stolen goods.

“Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me, scatters. ~Luke 11:14-23 (CEB)

“The cup of suffering has many shapes and a variety of contents. In our tradition, the cup has special significance. It is a communal cup, meant for sharing. Abandonment at a time of suffering is the deepest of tragedies. Each time of suffering is the deepest of tragedies. Each time we pass the wine of the Eucharist, we are reminded of our communal relationships and our sharing is to continue in our picking up the burdens of the larger community.

Draining the cup of suffering is the final test of our sincerity in claiming discipleship. We can expect no right or left hand seats of honor, no prerogatives of power or monopoly on truth, no thrones, no outsiders. But we can have the privilege of holding one another, broken and bruised, in the embrace of our circle, of keeping watch with the dying or keeping vigil with the condemned, of walking alongside the exiled and the weary, of standing at the foot of the cross, not in despair or in bitterness, but open to the miracle of pending resurrection. And, finally, of waiting hopefully for our own welcome into life, wholeness at last!” ~From Seek Treasures in Small Fields by Joan Puls

Almighty God, as I go about my busy schedule today, let me not forget to hold the hands of the people You put in my path today. May I remember to take the time to foster and feed relationships, to embrace the weary, to stand with the saddened. Help me to help others to find joy in the moment so that in the present we will see Your face. Amen.

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