Bread – Intrigue

July 28, 2015


Readings for Tuesday, July 28, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: 2 Sam. 3:6-21; Acts 16:6-15; Mark 6:30-46; Psalms 61,62,68

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Today in Samuel we are introduced to palace intrigue. Abner is a strong man for Saul, who is in the fight for Israel with David. Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, accuses Abner with having an affair with one of Saul’s concubines. Abner gets mad and runs off to help David. David, however, wants Abner to steal Michal, Saul’s daughter and the woman David had worked and paid for, from her current husband, Paltiel, and bring her to David, which he does. Abner gets the tribal leaders in Israel to line up with David and reports that to him. David throws Abner a feast and sends him on his way to gather up the clans in allegiance to David. Joab, David’s key strong man, comes back after Abner has left and accuses Abner of coming only to deceive David. In tomorrow’s readings, Joab kills Abner.

Sex, power, thrones, feasts, victory and defeat, slyness, and deceit. What more could want in our little tale of intrigue.

Contrast this to the simple telling of how Paul got to Philippi in our reading from Acts today. There is no intrigue here, no guile, no attempt to control power, no sex. Paul tries to go to one place and the Holy Spirit tells him no. Paul tries to go to another place and the Holy Spirit tells him no again. In a vision, Paul sees a man from Macedonia and knows that is the Holy Spirit telling him what to do next. He goes to Philippi in Macedonia and does the Lord’s work.

In these two history lessons we can clearly see some of the characteristics of worldly affairs and Christ’s affairs.

Worldly affairs are awash in intrigue, in intricate relationships where everyone is jockeying for position, money, sex, or power. Worldly affairs are complex, creating twists and turns that it takes entire novels to follow.

Christ’s affairs are awash in simplicity. We feed a poor family who needs food. Where is the intrigue there? We listen to what God tells us through Scripture and we obey. Where is the intrigue there? We talk to people about Christ. Where is the intrigue there? We love others. Where is the intrigue? We stand in the evil day. Where is the intrigue? We build our houses on sold rock. Where is the intrigue?

In our reading today from Mark, Jesus takes the loaves and fishes and multiplies them to feed five thousand men and an untold number of women and children. With the clear eye of faith empowered by the Holy Spirit, in this simple act we can see God and His dominion over creation. With the clouded eye of worldly knowledge and education, we contemplate the mystery of magic and wonder what spell He put over the people, what lies are told in Scripture, what exaggeration occurs in the retelling, what deal Christ must have cut with Satan. Through the world’s eyes, when we see a miracle we see intrigue – with the eyes of faith we just see another miracle.

Are you engaged today in the dance of intrigue, of making mountains out of molehills, of angling for the best deals, of creating strategic alliances? Is this Christ’s work or someone else?

Life lived unto the Lord is actually pretty simple and free of intrigue. Intrigue leads to entanglements and imprisonment of mind and soul, and perhaps even body. Simplicity leads to what? Health and freedom.

Are we engaged in the grand schemes of intrigue in our business, family, church, or other situations? Now what would any disciple of Christ do?

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© 2015 GBF

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