Bread – Headaches

May 25, 2011


Readings for Wednesday, May 25, designated by the Book of Common Prayer: *; Rom. 13:1-14; Luke 8:16-25; Psalms 72, 119:73-96

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Headaches – we all have them and we all hate them. One of the favorite childhood remedies, from our mothers no doubt, was “ignore it and it will go away.”

We treat many parts of our Lord’s Word to us in that way, as a headache. And we apply the same remedy to Bible headaches as we were taught – ignore it and maybe it will go away. Of course, God’s Word does not and will not go away, either in our lives or in anyone else’s. By ignoring the headaches which God’s Word gives us, we may put off pain for a while, but pain we will have, either from God’s chastening and rebuke in this life or in the loss of reward for eternity or in the torment of Hell.

There are lots of Scriptural headaches in today’s readings. Rather than pick one, let me list them and see which ones are your and my headaches.

First, in Romans 13:1, we have this — “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities…” Now, every one of us can think of at least one “governing authority” to whom we will “never” submit. Surely God did not mean that evil (stupid, mean, incompetent) ruler! Yes, He did, because as Paul points out in the remainder of the sentence “…for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Rom. 13:1 We either believe that God is control or He is not, that He is God or He is not, that He intends all things for good or He does not. We must make up our mind and, unfortunately for us, this means that we must “submit” to those people who govern us.

Second, in Romans 13:7, we have this – “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Who wants to pay people (or institutions) we don’t like? Besides, who do I owe any honor or respect to? Well, let’s try God’s command that we honor our parents. How is that going? Let’s try God’s wisdom that we should not frustrate our children (that we should respect our children). How is that going for us?

Third, in Romans 13:9, we have this – “…Love your neighbor as yourself.” And I have gone out of my way to love who today?

Fourth, in Romans 13:13, we have this – “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, no in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” Well, we may have under control the orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, and debauchery (more or less, maybe), but what about dissension and jealousy? How are we doing in those departments. Oh, God must not have meant having to deal with my obnoxious roommate, house mate, co-worker, boss, customer, supplier, etc., did He? Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.

Fifth, in Luke 8:16, we have the words of Jesus – “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand…” In what ways have we shielded the light of Christ from others because it hurts our eyes and gives us a headache? Have we responded to other people’s request that we “tone down” the Jesus talk because talk of religion is “intolerant” or “divisive” by putting a shade over the light of Christ in our life?

Sixth, in Luke 8:21, Christ says “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Who do we treat like family, our “natural” family and our friends, or our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Every one of these readings today is worthy of many sermons and teachings. Every one of these is a headache.

Maybe we can treat the headache by ignoring it, and maybe it will go away. A lot of people, and a lot of Christians, do that.

Or maybe we can treat the headache with aspirin – the strength, wisdom, and encouragement of the Holy Spirit. And maybe with that Holy Spirit we can get rid of the headache and embrace what God has told us in His Word, living it out in all aspects of life, in victory. Actually, Paul addresses this in our readings today, too, when he says “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Rom. 13:12b Let’s take our cure against the headaches of Christianity. Let’s put on the armor of light. Come, Holy Spirit.

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