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Mission Devotional - August 21, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Psalm 133

Opening Prayer: All praise and thanks to thee, most merciful God, for adopting us as thine own children, for incorporating us into thy holy Church, and for making us worthy to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Grant us, we pray, all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)

Scripture: Psalm 133:1-3

Journal: Where have you been poured out like precious oil recently? What did that do in you? Where have you been poured upon with precious oil lately? Were you able to fully receive it? Why, or why not?

Reflection: There is a giving and receiving inherent in true Christian community. There is a pouring out of precious oil and there is a being poured out upon. It is not a one-way street but a two-part movement. One without the other is incomplete.

Time and time again I have found myself in settings where I am being asked to give what I’ve got to give to the body of Christ - to pour out that precious oil that God placed within me when he breathed me into. It is uniquely mine to give, no one else in the history of creation can give it quite like I can. It is unique and it is beautiful and it is given to me to pour out on others in such a way that it makes a qualitative difference in us and among us. But in order for this interaction to have all of the beauty and all of the life it was intended to have, this pouring out of my precious oil must be fully received by those it is given to. That is when the magic really happens. That is when I come alive like only God can make we come alive. That is where the Lord fully bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Which means that not only do I need to learn how to give what God has given me, but I need to learn how to receive what he has given others. Not only do I need to learn how to be a good pourer, but I also need to learn how to be a good pouree. Not only do I need to learn how to freely give, but I need to learn how to freely receive. And, to be quite honest, I’m not very good at that. You see, I like the control of the pouring, but am uncomfortable with the vulnerability and dependence of the being poured upon. Somehow in my warped way of thinking it is a threat rather than a gift to me. When someone pours their gifts upon me it makes me feel insecure, because instead of enjoying the soothing warmth of their oil being poured upon my head, it immediately makes me question the quality of my own. Which then makes me feel like I need to respond, or pour back, or one up in order to prove myself, and my value, in some pathetic way.

Genuine Christian community is not like that! It celebrates and enjoys everyone’s oil. And makes space for us all to pour and be poured upon. In other words, I need to learn how to be a better receiver. I need to get over myself and allow those in the body of Christ to pour out their gifts in a way that I truly receive it as precious oil on my head. I need to give others the dignity of giving that they have offered me. I need to receive them fully and freely, enjoying their beauty and their giftedness in such a way that it creates life within and among us all. That is the way true Christian community is supposed to function. That is how the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Global Partner Focus: North Africa & Middle East

We support a family that is serving at a sanatorium for chest diseases, focusing on bringing holistic healing for body and soul to the semi-nomadic people of the area by providing high quality healthcare for them. Our supported worker serves in a mobile dental that was donated to further the outreach and care to Bedouin in remote areas. The clinic is a great resource to meet the felt needs of the poor in places where it is hard or impossible to receive any kind of dental care. Pray today for more in-patients to come to the clinic in the coming months for healing of all sorts.

Knoxville Area Rescue Mission (KARM) provides emergency shelter and food to homeless men and women and offers recovery for those seeking a way out of drug and alcohol abuse. Pray today for KARM’s work with the homeless and all the volunteers that assist with this mission. Pray today for KARM and those in the Knoxville homeless community that they will feed, assist and care for during the late summer months while it is still hot outdoors.

Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we be one as you are one. May we learn how to love each other fully and freely, the way you love us. And may we continually pour out our oil - giving and receiving - on each other’s heads in a way that brings you joy and delight. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.