On Hobbits and Ascension Day

“All power is given to me in heaven and on earth . . . go therefore and make disciples.”

Lord, my heart is humbled now:
I have stopped my haughty frown,
curbed my dreams to fit my gifts;
yes, at last I have calmed down.

Like a child near mother’s breast
I have found contentment, rest.
All God’s folk, hope in the Lord;
soon God’s rule will be restored.
–Psalm 131
(versified by Calvin Seerveld)

WANTED: World-changing witnesses for Christ and his Kingdom. The successful applicant must possess the following attributes: ability to walk softly, hide well and be good at throwing apples and stones.

Heroic characters are usually out front leading the charge on a white horse or in a new fighter that has just been commissioned for Starfleet. But hiding? Walking softly?

And for weapons, stones and apples just don’t make it. More likely a new phaser/laser gun.

But in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, the hero has those “quiet” skills and yet becomes the hero. Bilbo Baggins, who’d much prefer to be growing potatoes, ends up defeating a dragon and all sorts of evil creatures with no more heroic qualities than furry feet and a good throwing arm.

At the end, Good Guy Gandalf tells him, “You are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

So: “make disciples of all nations” and “don’t concern yourself with things too great.” How do these go together?

“Making disciples” is something we can do within our church and our local communities by using those small gifts God has given each.

Living in God’s presence
Maybe this talk about a hobbit doesn’t make sense to you because you haven’t read that book.  Here’s a story about another hero.

When I visited my home town in Wisconsin, I always spent time with an old lady who was a talented musician but mostly just played piano or organ in church. She was a brilliant thinker who only had a year or two of teacher’s college and never aspired to a doctorate: in fact, she recognized home-making as a high calling from God.

She was always hospitable. People said, “Whenever you got to her house, you always could tell she was delighted that you were visiting.” When a new family moved onto her block, she dropped off a fruit basket or baking or flowers with a welcome note and an invitation to her home and church.

She was a gifted writer who wrote essays, meditations and cards. She sent an endless stream of greeting cards and letters to missionaries, to students whom she heard good things about, to the grieving, to those celebrating. While this lady did not overthrow governments, she was known from New Guinea to Germany to Ethiopia through her correspondence.

“Whatever was worthy of praise” she acknowledged and celebrated.

My mother – you have probably guessed the identity of the lady by now – lived 87 years, witnessing to the centrality of God and discipling those with whom she came in contact.

Most of that which made her wonderful involved her satisfaction in ordinary daily living in God’s presence.

May we all be humble servants of our God, knowing that Jesus Christ is the king, and that we are privileged to be his servants and partners in bringing peace, shalom and blessing to this world. 

May we some day reign with Christ – not with jackboots, but with slippers.

 

Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to
do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

–Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)
Selected by Dan Clendenin

Author

  • Curt Gesch and his wife lead the singing via Zoom for a combined service of small United Church congregations in central B.C. each Sunday morning. In the afternoon, they lead a Friends and Family Zoom worship from their home. If you'd like to join that service, please write Curt at moc.liamg@36hcsegc.

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