Today’s readings contain an interesting challenges and guidance. Paul warned his presbyters to watch over themselves and the flock, to be vigilant against perversions of truth. The psalmist reminds us that God gives power and strength to all God’s people. Jesus asks the Father to keep His followers as they strive for unity with God, since they are in the world but do not belong to the world.
It is challenging for us to watch over ourselves. It is easy to observe the faults that others have, and miss the glaring problems that we have ourselves. Jesus reminded us that we should not talk about the splinter in our neighbor’s eye before we address the stick that is in our own. And watching for perversions of truth is especially difficult. What is truth? Is it universal or relative? Is it simple or complex? Can it vary based on the person and their personal call from God?
Jesus poses the great juxtaposition - we Christians are in the world but not of the world. How can this be? We exist physically today in this world but our beliefs and practices are (should be?) motivated by life after this world. We (should) watch ourselves, and tend our flocks, and serve each other not for personal gain but to grow and practice love as Jesus loved. Our short time in this world is preparation for the eternity of the next – our in the world daily activities are opportunities to learn to love as Jesus does.
And the psalmist comforts us when we realize how daunting this task is – God gives us power and strength to do these things. We are not alone. We have the power of God, the love of Jesus, the example of those who preceded us and accompany us at this time in the world. We have the capacity to learn and change. And so we are vigilant by being aware and continuing to learn from our failings as we pursue the truth as God reveals it to us.
My prayer today is for the strength of awareness, that I can be vigilant in watching over myself and learning from my many failings.
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