Trinity Sunday (June 19, 2011)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Jer. 20:7-13; Ps. 69:7-18; Rom. 6:1-11; Matt. 10:24-39
We returned to Amman, June 17, after a month-long speaking trip in the United States and Canada. We spoke in churches in Pennsylvania and British Columbia, and connected with MCC’s advocacy offices in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Canada. A highlight was speaking with volunteers at three MCC thrift shops in British Columbia, whose work provides financial support for MCC’s programs around the world. Everywhere, we found audiences curious about the Middle East, and particularly the “Arab Spring.”
We also had opportunities to visit MCC-sponsored participants at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (Eastern Mennonite University), to observe the 5th Mennonite Christian – Shi’a Muslim dialogue (Canadian Mennonite University) and to visit one of the Jordanian women who is participating in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange (IVEP) program.
Along the way, we also had a chance to connect with family, to hike at Deep Cove (near Vancouver, B.C.) and to take a ferry ride from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. We attended the graduation of our son Jeremy’s “D.C. Posse” at Bucknell University. Jeremy has a 5th year of college in order to complete a double civil/environmental engineering and geology major.
After a month on the road it feels good to be home in Amman!
The Common Lectionary readings are about surrendering to God, whatever the costs.
In the Old Testament reading, Jeremiah is mocked and ridiculed when he prophesies that Babylon will take Jerusalem captive (Jer. 20:7-9). Still, Jeremiah feels compelled to speak God’s word. He trusts God to deal justly with his detractors (vv. 11-12).
The psalmist is consumed by his zeal to be in God’s presence (Ps. 69:9) and yet he bears reproach and insults because of his relationship with God (vv. 7-12). Like Jeremiah, he trusts God to answer him and to rescue him from his distress (vv. 13-18).
In the Epistle reading, Paul writes that, just as we are united with Christ in his death, we also will be united with him in his resurrection (Rom. 6:5). We therefore are to be dead to sin and alive to God (v. 11).
In the Gospel reading, Jesus calls for our total allegiance. “Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me,” says Jesus, “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:38-39)
Surrendering to God’s purposes may seem difficult and costly. But the Lectionary texts remind us that, ironically, it is the only way that we experience the fullness of life.