The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 7:12-15 (Amos, a shepherd and 'dresser of sycamores' is chosen to serve God as a prophet)
Psalm 85:9-14 (Justice shall walk before God, and prepare the way of His steps)
Ephesians 1:3-14 (In Christ God has given us every spiritual blessing)
Mark 6:7-13 (Jesus sends out the Twelve to preach: "Whatever place does not welcome you...leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them")
Sign for Our Times:
Between the long winter, the wet spring, the uncertain summer thus far, and the lack of resources, it doesn't take much to feel that just about every road has become rough.
Life's road can be pretty rough at times, too.
There are times, it seems, that the road that leads to Heaven isn't even paved; let alone the condition of the pavement where it is in need of work.
On Saturday I came to another level of understanding that the road ahead for several people I know and love is going to be even rougher than they've experienced up to now. And by the very fact that I know this adds the probability of several rough places I will have to make my way through carefully.
The "Rough Road" sign warns of two things. First, it tells the traveler that he/she must use extra care and safe practices to traverse this stretch safely. Second, it's a warning to "use at your own risk." If a safer route is available, it might be in your best interest to alter your route.
Sometimes, though, there is no choice. You might have to get to somebody who lives on that sorry stretch of road - or you might live along it yourself. And you really think it's about time that the appropriate jurisdictional authority would get over here and fix the road, making it safer for travel once more; but it just doesn't want to work out that way. If you were one of those types who knew the roads "like the back of his hand" you'd pray that they'd just close the road altogether; but as long as somebody lives there, the road - with its many bumps, dips, and potholes - has to remain open, regardless of how desolate it looks or how impossible it seems to have to use it.
If you're a person who's never experienced a rough spot in your life, you are indeed blessed and hopefully thankful. But I'd venture a guess that the vast majority of adults have traveled at least one rough road in life's journey, and usually more. Some have never known the joys of a smooth ride through any part of life. And no matter how optimistic an outlook you have on life, our best guess is that the location of our golden years is far from the idyllic utopia we mapped out in the dreams of younger days.
Whether we're an unlikely prophet like Amos, or pressed into service such as the Apostles, or just trying to make it through another day, we're all on a journey. Yesterday's events for me were a reminder that the journey gets a little rougher along the way. It's a blessing to know that this journey is not one you travel alone. A firm sense of faith, a hefty helping of hope, and lots of love go a long way to smooth out the rough spots. Please pray with me today for those people in your life who are going down a rougher road. Most likely they did not choose that route deliberately. Please also pray for the people whose rough lives and situations are known only to God who, as the prophet Isaiah writes, can exalt every valley, level the mountains and hills, straighten the winding road, and make the rough places plain.