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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Focus: Outfoxed

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Luke 13:31-35

Get out of town, if you know what’s good for you. That’s the message the Pharisees bring to Jesus. Herod, the gangster king, has bumped off John the Baptist and now he’s got his sights on Jesus. But Jesus really does know what’s good for him. And more to the point, he knows what’s good for us, too. And he’s not about to dance to the tune of a petty tyrant. He has his own divine sense of place and of purpose. He knows where he is going. And he knows where he is taking us. His way leads to salvation, but it must pass through Jerusalem on the way to the cross.
Jesus sees right through Herod and dismisses him as “that fox.” To Jesus Herod is not a powerful adversary. He is a Roman puppet, a cunning scavenger, a debauched thief and murderer. He is “that fox.” Sadly, foxes like Herod are not an endangered species. They thrive by doing the Devil’s work on earth today. Our world is full of foxes. They smile and they coo while they distract and deceive. They are masters of half-truths and untruths, nimbly turning minor controversy into ugly confrontation. They steal away reputations and livelihoods, affections and relationships.
Ben Johnson wrote a ribald comedy about the undoing of Volpone, the Fox. While evil triumphs for five acts, all the miscreants get their comeuppance before the final curtain. But life hardly ever works that way. Sometimes the foxes go from victory to victory and pass away peacefully on satin sheets, while life kicks the virtuous in the teeth over and over. In Christ we know that the faithful path is rarely the safe one.
So what to do when the fox is plotting or circling or nipping at your heels? Follow Jesus…even unto the cross. The fox may win the day. But eternity belongs to Jesus and those who cleave to him. We have been promised that in him all things work to the good. And while it is often difficult to see that good through bitter disappointment and crushing tragedy, Christ’s love is constant. His saving grace is the most powerful force the world has ever known. I have seen it power people with disabilities and their families to exemplary lives of compassion and contagious joy. I have seen it in the dedication of families who have suffered job loss yet remained faithful to their tithes and continue to share with those who have less. I have seen it channel grief for a lost child into a ministry that saved, protected and nurtured hundreds of children.
Jesus never promised us a fox-free world. In fact he told us that his way would be a rough road replete with snares and pitfalls, and more than a few foxes. To follow Jesus actively and faithfully, means opening yourself up to be despised and humiliated. It puts you on the sucker list for all the foxes of this world. But you’re in good company…with every other fool for Christ who’s bound for glory.



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