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“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others,
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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Mt 10:29-31
Following Jesus can often cause some conflict and aggravation. In fact, I will take that a step further; following Jesus should occasionally be a source of disruption, conflict or inconvenience in your life.
When people began to answer the call to be followers of Jesus, they started stepping out of line. Sons deserted the family farm or left their father standing on the beach holding the fishing nets with his jaw hanging open as they ran off to follow a wandering rabbi.
Women found their voice enough to speak freely to a man in public or gather a community of faith in their household.
People, in other words, were discovering their dignity as human beings in ways they never had before and that were deeply disturbing to the keepers of the status quo. Suddenly, nothing was staying in place.
Everything seemed up for grabs. People were redefining what they perceived to be their obligations to one another based on human need and human equality rather than sex, kin and clan.
You better believe that was cause for a few arguments at home around the kitchen table and down at the local synagogue. They throw people over cliffs for suggesting changes like that!
But Jesus was leading people into the kingdom of God. Into a community of faith not defined by traditional power structures. Jesus was leading people toward a promise sealed in baptism. You are a precious child of God, of more value than many sparrows.
Questions to ponder or discuss:
Take an honest look at your Christian faith this week. If you have trouble coming up with a recent example of how your faith has presented challenges for you, look for at least one opportunity to step out of your comfort zone in your serving, giving or growing.
See you in church!