Tag Archives: servant

Servant of This Gospel

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 1, 2018

Eph 3 servant of this Gospel, words

Servant of This Gospel

As I have continued with the Lenten scripture readings for this past week set by the book Meeting God in Paul, I also read part of a chapter where Paul is described in detail. Rowan Williams has a remarkable understanding of Paul the man, as well as Paul the theologian.

I had never really thought about it before, but we have more of an actual description and more understanding of the apostle Paul the man than we do of almost anyone else in the ancient world—except for certain rulers and emperors. We know more of the person and description of Paul than we do about the person and description of Jesus, in fact. (We know lots of other things about the man Jesus while He was here on earth, but not so much about His person and physical description.)

Prof. Williams highlights some fascinating details about Paul, including a physical description from only a few years after the beginning of the second century. This was within the lifetime of someone who—as a young person—could have actually seen Paul. Written in Asia Minor, this account mentions that Paul “is a little man, bow-legged, thin-faced, hook-nosed, bald with heavy eyebrows meeting in the middle; and this is how he is invariably depicted in the most ancient Byzantine artistic tradition and in icons of him up to the present day.” [1]

In other words, Paul was not particularly photogenic. (It probably was a good thing that Paul did not live in either the 20th or 21st centuries, with the prevalence of cameras and other forms of media.) However short or near-sighted or bald he may have been, those were just elements of an exterior image of Paul. It was the interior that mattered to God. And, on the inside, Paul was an eloquent ambassador for Jesus. He called himself a servant of the Gospel or of the Lord several times in his New Testament letters. And, he meant it.

I wonder. Am I too caught up in what is on the exterior? Is someone’s image all-important to me? (Is my personal image that important to me? Dear Lord, please, no.) How about considering myself a servant of the Gospel, as Paul described himself to the believers in Ephesus? Lord, I hope so. I pray so. Help me to make it so. Thank You, God, for this wonderful book about Paul, filled with such meaningful words.


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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 19.

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Virgin Mary praying mosaic

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

I’ve been hesitant to dip my toe into the imaginative style of prayer that St. Ignatius recommends in the Spiritual Exercises. This time, that is. Ordinarily, I find Ignatian prayer and meditation exciting, exhilarating, even intriguing. I appreciate using the abilities of my senses to assist in my prayer times.

But—there was something about the passage Margaret Silf chose for the first passage. The Annunciation, from the first chapter of Luke. That made me hesitate, for several days.

I finally pulled up my figurative-bootstraps and waded into the passage. That’s what it felt like, truly. At first.

I read it through, relatively slowly, three times. The first time, just to get a handle on what I was reading. The second time, to particularly notice things. Trying to imaging the setting, the house, the dusty road outside the door. Mary, a teenage girl, and her being frightened, startled. And the third time—the angel. I was arrested by the angel. The special effects in my mind must have been great, because I saw the angel as vaguely masculine but with a body of light. Corporeal, but filled with light. Or generating light from within. So awe-inspiring, and frightening.

I realized I was peeking into the main room from the adjacent room (a kitchen?). I saw the conversation between Mary and the angel, and I could sense Mary’s anxiety and fear. Yet, as the angel spoke of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth (which is my name, I think in retrospect), I feel a sudden kinship with Mary’s cousin. I don’t believe I ever have, before.

That’s all I got for today. That’s what the passage held for me. That’s a lot, too.

Let’s pray. Dear Mighty One, overshadowing all of Your children, You are loving and You see everything. You want each of us to say “I am the servant of the Lord,” don’t You? Help me to be willing to say that, on a regular basis. Thank You for the assistance Your Spirit gives to me, each day. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of us as we pray.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

The Problem with Forgiveness?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 23, 2015

FORGIVE forgiveness a lovely idea

The Problem with Forgiveness?

The problem with forgiveness—is me.

Yes, this post contains more about forgiveness. Such a huge topic. Huge in God’s eyes, and a gaping hole in mine, too. Gaping in the sense that I sometimes find it so hard to do.

My, my. I am oh, so grateful for God’s forgiveness to me! I can sing God’s praises all day long for forgiveness, grace and mercy, abundantly poured out upon me. But the minute I am expected to extend just a little bit of that forgiveness towards some other person . . . especially towards someone I particularly dislike, or someone I just can’t forgive? Well, then. Forgiveness might be out of the question.

It reminds me of a story. A story that Rabbi Jesus told (check out Matthew 18:21-35).

Once there was a man, a servant of a powerful king. Somehow, he found himself in the position of owing the king a huge amount of money, more than the servant could ever pay back. The king had the servant dragged before him. The servant groveled and pleaded and threw himself on his face. The king relented, and forgave the servant his huge debt.

On his way home, the forgiven servant meets a fellow servant of the king. The second servant owes the forgiven servant a small amount of money. However—the forgiven servant forgets completely about the abundant forgiveness, grace and mercy the king extended to him. The forgiven servant has the second servant thrown into debtors’ prison, immediately.

When the king hears about this from the other servants, the king is outraged. Upbraids the forgiven servant, and tells him that the forgiveness is cancelled, and he is now going to prison until the huge debt is paid off. All because the formerly-forgiven servant forgot all about the incredible gift of forgiveness, grace and mercy he had been given by the king.

Wow. Right between the eyes, Jesus. Upside the head, with a two by four. I get it.

You want me to forgive. No matter what. That parable’s enough to make me throw myself on my face, in front of You, and stay there for a long, long time. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Lord.

Forgive me.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.