Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

January 28, 2009 The Harvest

READ: Matthew 9:35-38
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
-- S. Trevor Francis, 1875

I've always been afraid of the ocean. I don't often go in ocean water, even if it is warm and inviting. The reason is that ocean waves are unpredictable. I'm not a strong swimmer, and I'm quite sure I could be sucked under by a strong current or a rip tide. I much prefer the safe waters of a lake, or better yet the perfectly placid waters of a nice chlorine pool.

So it is that I hate to admit that my reason for holding to reformed theology is not entirely... well... theological. A good piece of it is because I can 'handle' the relatively calm waters of calvinism. It makes sense. It is actually pretty reasonable. Even though I'm stuck with a whole host of paradoxes I don't like, at least God is predictable.

But I'll tell you... the idea of Jesus going through every village and city and "healing every disease and every affliction" is like having an ocean wave about to crash upon me. I don't want Jesus to have compassion on me. I'm a leader. I can handle myself! I don't want him to send out laborers into the harvest to save me. I'm supposed to BE the laborer who was sent out.

I recently hear an author talking about the book he had written say, "Everyone loves Jesus because we can make a picture of him so that he's anything we like." At the time I thought, "Yea, but no one wants the second person of the Trinity. That's like inviting GOD into your life."

Exactly.

In some ways it would be easier to have God heal a disease I might have than for him to heal the things I'm "afflicted" with. A disease is physical. There's an invader, and clearly it needs medicine. But an affliction? Haven't you ever heard of "self-inflicted wounds?" I can handle my afflictions quite nicely, thank you, as long as I'm not overpowered by anything. As long as I can stand on my own two feet I'll be okay. It is that WAVE I don't think I can stand.

Jon

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