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Glimpses of Grace—“The way is hard”

For devotional reading:John 6:60-71.

Text: “Many of Jesus’ disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching; who can accept it?’ …Because of this teaching, many of Jesus’ disciples left him.” (vss. 60 & 66)

When I was in eighth grade I fell in love with the poetry of Robert Frost. Back then, “graduating” eighth graders selected a “class poem”. Ours was Frost’s The Road Not Taken. It’s closing lines are:

I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence:/ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference.

When Jesus’ disciples began to take Jesus seriously, they came to one of Life’s forks in the road of life. They had to decide if they were “all in” or not. Earlier in John’s gospel Jesus said that He was “the Way, the Truth and the Life”; to walk in His Way (to take Him seriously) was the means to discovering both eternal Truth and Life. As long as the road was easy, many of his disciples were “in”, but as soon as taking Jesus seriously became hard, well, that was a different story.

I once led a bible study for a group of men who were new disciples of Jesus. We were studying Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount”. One night, when we talked about “God and mammon” and the impossibility of serving “two masters”, one of the participants grew quiet. A few days later he sent a text message to the group saying that he could not continue. Nor would he be in church any more because the “Way” was too hard. Like many of the disciples in today reading, he decided to take a different road.

Taking Jesus seriously is not easy. Jesus didn’t promise the riches of the “prosperity gospel”. He promised a Cross. He also promised that taking up His Cross was the road that led to a contentment that the world could never take away.  And, He promised to help bear the “yoke” of the Cross with us.

Lord, in our lives we find two roads that diverge. Give us the courage to walk the road that You walked and promised to walk with us. Amen.

Christian, Congregationalist, devotion, Iona, Presbyterian, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ (UCC)

Glimpses of Grace for October 18, 2017

Pilgrims’ pathToday began with a morning prayer service in the Abby on Iona. Later in the morning I began the journey to St. Columbra’s Bay which is named after an one of the 12 Irish Apostles. St. Columbia is credited with spreading Christianity to Scotland in the 6th century. He died on June 9, 597 and is buried on Iona. One of the island’s chapels bears his name. 

On our journey we came across two sets of pilgrims on a one pilgrimage. My own “pilgrimage” was cut short a quarter of a mile from the bay when I slipped on a rock in a marshy section and twisted my ankle. Thanks to the assistance to my housemate, Wilford Gowing, a Robert Burns quoting Anglican clergyman on sabbatical, I made it back to where we stayed

Plans can change in a moment, in the flash of an eye or slipping on a rock. We often fall short of our goal. It is those times when God provides “angels” of mercy, bearers of grace to help us get back on our feet. 

The moment one journey ended, a new one began. God was in both journeys every step of the way. That is truly a glimpse of grace. 

Lord, for all the saints who from their labors rest, we give your thanks. Amen.