Challenges / Obstacles

Photo credit here

S (Scripture): Mark 6:21 Finally, the time was right. It was on one of Herod’s birthdays, when he had prepared a feast for his high-ranking officials and military officers and Galilee’s leading residents. 22 Herod’s daughter Herodias[a] came in and danced, thrilling Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the young woman, “Ask me whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 Then he swore to her, “Whatever you ask I will give to you, even as much as half of my kingdom.”

24 She left the banquet hall and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

“John the Baptist’s head,” Herodias replied.

25 Hurrying back to the ruler, she made her request: “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a plate, right this minute.” 26 Although the king was upset, because of his solemn pledge and his guests, he didn’t want to refuse her. 27 So he ordered a guard to bring John’s head. The guard went to the prison, cut off John’s head, 28 brought his head on a plate, and gave it to the young woman, and she gave it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came and took his dead body and laid it in a tomb.

O (Observation): This story resides between Jesus commissioning the disciples for mission and their return (as Jesus feeds the 5,000).

No doubt, the author of this Gospel places this story here as a reminder:

agents of God who challenge those in power usually suffer significant consequences.

Quote is from Working Preacher website, Dr. Emerson Powery, July 15, 2012.

A (Application): How many times do we feel tested when embarking on mission? Missions big and small bring with them challenges and obstacles.

Of course, these days, the obstacles I sense are mostly about the relevance of the voice of the Church. That’s is a broad term: “Church.” I use it broadly, because much damage has been done to the world, in the name of the “Church.”

I’m over here, in Murfreesboro, in my little corner of the world. I’m with my family and my congregation I am serving. And we are doing our darnedest to repair the breach. But do I need to make excuses for the harm others have done? But wait…that makes me think…what harm have I done?

Perhaps some things I’ve done or not done have caused harm. As soon as I’m ready to point the finger, I must pause and look back to myself. How have I contributed to the brokenness of the Church’s witness?

Is my white privilege blinding me to some things around me? Have I been afraid to stand up or speak out against injustices caused by the Church (and thus, continuing to be a part of the problem)?

I don’t think God wants me paralyzed in fear. Rather, I trust that God covers my faults and cleanses me, so that I can move forward with renewed hope and new eyes. I pray that God does this in me every day. That is my obstacle. What is yours?

P (Prayer): Lord, keep us steadfast in the midst of the challenges we face. Amen.

P.s. Wish my son luck as he enters the county track championships, today! : )

And yes, that is what inspired today’s picture.

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