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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Monday, February 23, 2009

February 11, 2009 Two Houses

READ: Matthew 12:43-50
43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.
44 Then it says, I will return to my house from which I came. And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.
45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
48 But he replied to the man who told him, Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?
49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers!
50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

Last night Jama and I watched the epic movie Legends of the Fall -- appropriate considering that Brad Pitt was up for an Oscar. In case you've never seen it, Legends is the story of a single father and his three sons living in Montana in the first part of the 20th century. The introduction of a love interest into one of the young men's lives ends up, as an Indian narrator observes, being "the stone upon which all of them were broken." Tragedy strikes one after another in the family. One son dies in WWI, the father has a stroke, a second son goes mad for a time, and the third son becomes a congressman (and isn't that a tragedy?) One of the sons finally asks his father, "Is the entire family cursed because of what I did?" No. The failure is not his. Theirs was the story of a family who never cleaned the house of its demons. After the one son died in the war the girl was supposed to go back east where she came from. But one situation after another kept her in Montana, and the rest is history... er... legend. Sometimes there is a toxicity in relationships and systems; maybe even locations, that just makes everyone feel doomed. What is called for is a complete change. What is called for is a repentance. Not just sorrow. Not just feeling bad for what has happened. Repentance is a turning from; a walking away from; a never going back to.

Strange, isn't it, that in the midst of talking about a house doomed because the occupants won't do anything more than just sweep and wait for the demon to return Jesus is asked about his own house? "Your mother and brothers are outside and want to see you," is introduced into the narrative. And Jesus reply? "whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." How does a house become a house of God instead of a house of the Devil? Quite simply it happens when every occupant chooses to do the will of the Father. Jesus is not saying that this will protect your family from trouble, harm, or even struggles. But when the presence of the Spirit of Christ is in each member these things will work themselves out in time and the whole will result in praise to God.

Jon

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