Lectionary Commentaries for July 7, 2013
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

from WorkingPreacher.org


Commentary on Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Michael Rogness

When we think of Jesus’ followers we think of the twelve apostles, but there were more.

This story speaks of the seventy whom Jesus sent out. This was a kind of “internship,” a training time while Jesus was still with them. The mission was the same as Jesus’ own ministry: “cure the sick” and “say to them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

Jesus sends them “ahead of him … to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” He is on his way to Jerusalem and will probably travel through villages where he has not been before. Rumors of what Jesus is doing have undoubtedly spread into Samaria so the seventy emissaries will announce his coming by giving people a preview of his own work. It is also a preview of the ministry Jesus gives us today. We go “ahead of him,” bringing his message where we go.

They are to travel “in pairs.” We think of groups doing mission work door-to-door, always with two people, such as the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can assume that Jesus’ directive is for safety and for mutual encouragement. If you have to do something dangerous or risky, you want to have somebody with you. It’s also a sign that “we’re in this together” as followers of Jesus.

“The harvest is plentiful” is as true today as it was in Jesus’ time. In questionnaires that ask about religious affiliation today the “nones” are the fastest growing group. Church attendance is down, especially among young people. One of the characteristics of today’s so-called “postmodernism” is that people come up with their own religious views, not wanting to willing simply to accept what others believe.

In 1985 authors Robert Bellah and Richard Madsen coined the word “sheilaism” in their book Habits of the Heart. As typical of many modern people they quoted a young nurse, whom they called “Sheila,” who said

“I believe in God. I’m not a religious fanatic. I can’t remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way. It’s “Sheilaism.” Just my own little voice … It’s just try to love yourself and be gentle with yourself. And, you know, I guess, take care of each other. I think He would want us to take care of each other.”

“Sheilaism” is shorthand for that kind of religiosity, a rather do-it-yourself well-meaning mish-mash of religious views, often from strands of many religions.

Those are many of the people Jesus is sending us out to today.

Jesus warned the seventy to expect resistance and rejection, and it’s the same today. More Christians are being persecuted for their faith today than at any other time in human history, including the Roman persecutions of the first century. If not persecution, we might meet “sheilaism” or other various views. Or we might meet indifference of those in our increasingly secular society. I remember a friend who quit going to church because “I don’t need all that anymore.”

Jesus’ advice on the mission was to “go light.” In our terms the equivalent advice would be, “Don’t let stuff get in the way or conflict with your ministry of the gospel.” Once you find like-minded people, work with them.

“The laborers deserve to be paid” is one of the few sayings of Jesus that Paul alludes to in his letters (1 Timothy 5:18, also 1 Corinthians 9:14). In this context it means that those sent out should let others support them while they doing their mission work. Ironically, Paul often didn’t follow that advice, supporting himself by tent making (Acts 18:3).

Notice how Jesus only tells them what they should do and doesn’t say anything about measuring their success. If people don’t accept your message, he says, shake their dust off your feet and move on. In our congregations it’s difficult to avoid measuring success. We live with membership figures, giving levels, budgets, annual reports, and so on. It’s very easy to measure our work by these figures — and that’s how many people will measure our ministry — but that’s contrary to this text.

Verses 12-15 are omitted from the Sunday reading. If it’s meant to remove a stern note to domesticate the text, then it’s unfortunate. However, the lectionary compilers probably decided that these verses may well have been inserted into the gospel, and that the story about the seventy reads smoothly from verse 11 to verse 16. In either case, the point of the verses is that judgment and punishment aren’t our business.

Verse 16 echoes the opening of the story: the ministry and the message we bring is the ministry and message Jesus was doing. What we do and say is about him and from him. Is there a note of surprise in the report the seventy bring back to Jesus? Isn’t that because they didn’t know or expect what would happen? Isn’t that like our ministry, when we are surprised what happens as a result of our work? An example of some such surprise would be good to include in your sermon.

The paragraph closes with another note about success. We are not to rejoice about our success in our various ministries, but to rejoice “that your names are written in heaven,” that is, that we are part of this kingdom of God which we are proclaiming.

In my sermon I will quote St. Teresa of Avila’s well-known saying, reminding us that now we carry on the ministry that Jesus gave us:

Christ has no body on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.

First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 66:10-14

Elizabeth Webb

You know what it’s like to be bone-tired.

It is to be so exhausted, mentally, physically, and spiritually, that the weariness feels like it’s seeped into your very marrow and has become a part of you. It is to feel despairing and defeated. It is to feel as if your energy can never be restored, so you have no choice but to drag yourself through your days, longing all the while only for rest.

We all know that weariness. Fortunately, for most of us, such bone-tiredness, as awful as it is, is only an occasional experience. For some of us, though, it is a way of life. Some of us are so exhausted that bone-tired is the only way we know how to live anymore. Depression, anxiety, marital or family strife, financial instability, ill health — these things and others can make us so crushingly weary that we can’t imagine feeling truly alive again.

The Israelites knew this bone-tiredness, too. In the context of Isaiah 66, the people had suffered through the exile, cut off from their land and from their God. Then, when some were allowed to return in anticipation of the great blessings they had been promised, they found only further suffering. The small groups of exiles who returned to Judah after Persia’s defeat of Babylon in 539 faced hardship, famine, political in-fighting, and economic oppression. Their weariness, after generations of oppression and humiliation, must have been unbearable.

Isaiah 65, as discussed in the commentary for week five, emphasizes divine retribution to explain Israel’s suffering, and eschatological hope to spur the people on. In a similar vein, chapter 66 closes with the promise of Zion’s vindication and God’s defeat of those who rebel. Tucked within this drama of God’s righteous anger and Israel’s glorious vindication, however, in verses 10-14, the writer has included a tender portrait of a maternal God, who restores and refreshes the weary bones of God’s people. The labor pains of Zion’s rebirth are unavoidable, yet the God who births her is there to comfort and console.

Chapter 66 begins with a condemnation of false worship, a familiar refrain in Third Isaiah and in other Prophetic works, and ends with a pronouncement of God’s revenge on the disobedient. In the opening verses of the chapter, the author warns the Israelites not to make an idol of the Temple that they are beginning to rebuild. “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool” (verse 1), God intones; nothing built by human hands could possibly contain the God of all things.

But there are those among the people who forget that all things are made by the hands of God, and whose worship thereby lacks humility and reverence. God’s desire is not for a temple that ultimately only glorifies human activity, but for “humble and contrite” spirits that “tremble” at God’s word (verse 2). God’s condemnation upon those who disobey, in verses 15-16, is also a familiar prophetic refrain. By fire and by sword, the Lord will come “to pay back his anger in fury, and his rebuke in flames of fire” (verse 15). The rotting bodies of those on whom God brings judgment will forever remain as a warning against rebellion (verse 24).

In the midst of this narrative of divine condemnation and retribution, we find surprising moments of maternal imagery. Beginning in verse 7, the writer, using language of labor and delivery, assures the people that the promised renewal of Israel will indeed come to fruition. The people’s sufferings, the labor pains of rebirth, will be short-lived: the glorious rebirth of Jerusalem is imminent.

“Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be delivered in one moment? Yet as soon as Zion was in labor she delivered her children” (verse 8). The pain of labor will immediately, miraculously, be surpassed by the joy of God’s delivery of Israel. While the people’s suffering feels as desperate as that of a pregnant woman who cannot give birth (29:18), God will not “open the womb and not deliver” (66:9); God’s imminent delivery of Israel is assured.

The lectionary text’s (verses 10-14) emphasis on joy and comfort extends the maternal motif even further. Four times in verses 10 the people are enjoined to “rejoice” and “be glad,” to replace their mourning over Jerusalem’s destruction with joy at her renewal. Jerusalem is portrayed as a mother, whose “consoling breast” will nurture and feed her children, and they will “drink deeply with delight” (verses 10 and 11). Jerusalem is an affectionate mother, nursing her people, carrying them on her arm, and dandling them on her knee (verse 12). The milk of affection and nourishment mingles with the “overflowing stream” (verse 12) of prosperity; with Mother Jerusalem’s nurturance, the wealth of all the nations will flow to the people. The people are awash in love and delight.

The word “comfort” appears three times in verse 13, and it is here that the application of the maternal metaphor switches from Jerusalem to God: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (verse 13). The comfort that Mother God provides for her people is the comfort of home; restoring the people to the place they belong, rebuilding their ruins, and washing them in riches and security (see also 49:13, 51:13, 52:9, and 54:11). Under God’s nurturing care, the very bodies and spirits of God’s people receive restoration (verse 14).

The word translated “bodies” in the NRSV should more properly be translated “bones,” which speaks to the sense that despair can settle in and take over our very essence, and which emphasizes that God can reach in and restore that essence to joy. The home in this world that God provides for us is within the circle of God’s own arms, and in that place the tired old bones of humanity flourish again. Deep within our bones we are weary and broken, and deep within our bones God’s nurturing love reaches in and restores.

Joy and comfort. Milk and water. Weary bones refreshed and restored. In the midst of the thundering of condemnation and retribution, it is this quiet passage of maternal care and human delight that gestures more particularly to the presence of God with God’s people that their bone-tired bodies and spirits might flourish again, like the grass.

Alternate First Reading

Commentary on 2 Kings 5:1-14

Karla Suomala

Last fall, the wife of a good friend and colleague was diagnosed with lymphoma.

What they had enjoyed for so much of their lives — their work, daily routines, their relationships — was suddenly unsettled. They describe their experience as disorienting, almost like going to a foreign country with no time to pack.

As travellers from the land of health, they found that the land of serious illness was full of obstacles they didn’t necessarily expect and didn’t always feel prepared to handle. In the Nation of Cancer, they discovered that their roles and identities were turned upside down, the language (“Disease”) was difficult, and the rituals were strange and often difficult to understand.

The Healing Prophets
Unlike most biblical prophets, Elisha and his predecessor, Elijah, frequently served as escorts and advisors to those hoping to cross from the land of sickness and death to the land of life and health. Between them, we count at least five such “crossings.” Their healing miracles are marked by a wide array of rituals — series of actions done in a particular order and place — that often seem strange to today’s readers. Today’s story, the healing of Naaman in 2 Kings 5:1-14, is representative of boundary crossings and rituals as a path to wholeness.

Naaman Enters the Land of Illness
Naaman, the military commander of Aram — a great (read: “rich”) man and a man whom the King esteemed — had everything going for him. Except that one day, his nagging suspicion about the strange things happening to his body became a certainty. He had leprosy. As the terrible realization of his new reality began to sink in, he must have thought, “Anything but this. Please let it be something else!” There was no known cure for leprosy; it was a slow moving, debilitating, painful and socially isolating disease. Even his wealth, his status, and his connections were not likely to be of any use. His journey into the land of illness had begun.

The story in 2 Kings seems to begin in the “middle of things,” by which point the disease had progressed considerably. Naaman, not the type of man to sit idly by, had likely tried everything that his significant resources permitted. He must have been desperate if he was willing to take advice from to his wife’s Israelite maid. She was the lowest of the low in terms of status; she was part of the spoils of war, a servant, a foreigner, a woman, and young. In fact, the author doesn’t even record her name. Naaman’s willingness to act on this young woman’s advice, points to his dislocation and signals his vulnerability — a powerful man looking to the powerless for help.

The Path to Health is Full of Obstacles
The young maidservant indicates that there is a prophet in Samaria, a man whom she is certain can cure her master of his disease. Naaman couldn’t just call to make a discrete appointment though. Consulting this prophet would involve leaving his own country to enter the land of Israel, Aram’s enemy. The text suggests that Israel wasn’t even a particularly worthy opponent, with Naaman having accomplished a successful raid in the recent past.

At any rate, not quite sure how to navigate this new land of illness, Naaman tells his King what the Israelite servant girl has said. The King, not quite catching the part about the Israelite prophet, but hoping he can do something for his military commander, sends a letter to the King of Israel instead.

A bit like a medical referral getting lost en route, Naaman’s case is held up by bureaucratic twists and turns. Israel’s king panics when he receives the letter — how in the world is he supposed to cure leprosy? And if he doesn’t, will Aram attack again? Is this some kind of trick? Interestingly, the King of Aram could have asked for almost anything else, and the King of Israel would have figured out some way to handle it. But curing leprosy was not an option for him. Elisha, upon hearing of the King’s anxiety, tells the King to send Naaman to him.

Saving Face in a Foreign Land
Beyond the borders of his home country and trying to hide his vulnerability with excessive bravado, Naaman arrives in grand style at Elisha’s presumably small abode with chariots, horses, and an entourage. “What in the world can this quack do for me?” he has to be asking himself. “I wonder if I should just turn around and go home.” Adding insult to injury, the prophet doesn’t even come out of his house to see the celebrity patient who is waiting outside. He sends his servant out in his stead.

Things go from bad to worse for Naaman when the servant tells him, “‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” Naaman hits a wall. This is asking too much of him. Humiliated and angry, he says,

‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. (2 Kings 5:11-12; italics mine)

Being treated as a nonentity by rude or busy practitioners and then being subjected to strange and distasteful procedures — this is very much the stuff of life on the other side of health and wholeness. Losing his identity, becoming a number, and feeling foolish and desperate at the same time proved overwhelming to Naaman. How could he possibly trust the prophet’s strange prescription relayed through a lowly underling?

One Last Chance… Should He Take It?
At the urging of his own servants, who seem to care deeply for him (addressing him as “father”), Naaman finally consents to dipping in the Jordan. Probably not expecting much, but knowing that he has run out of options, he enters the water and immerses himself seven times. Rising from the water that last time, perhaps foolishly hoping, he sees that the leprosy is gone!

My colleague texted us from the clinic one day in March to let us know that his wife’s final tests had come and that she was cancer free. After months of ups and downs, difficult treatments, side effects, and infections, his wife had emerged from the Jordan, whole. But just as Naaman discovers on his way back home, the crossing back is not a return to “normal,” or the way things used to be. Having sojourned in the land of illness, there is a new horizon, perhaps one that didn’t exist before, one formed at the point where vulnerability and trust have come together create new life.


Commentary on Psalm 66:1-9

J. Clinton McCann, Jr.

As suggested in last week’s essay on Psalm 16, the sequencing of psalms sometimes seems intentional, or at least significant. In terms of today’s lection, the beginning of Psalm 66 follows beautifully the conclusion of Psalm 65.

As suggested in last week’s essay on Psalm 16, the sequencing of psalms sometimes seems intentional, or at least significant. In terms of today’s lection, the beginning of Psalm 66 follows beautifully the conclusion of Psalm 65.

As suggested in last week’s essay on Psalm 16, the sequencing of psalms sometimes seems intentional, or at least significant. In terms of today’s lection, the beginning of Psalm 66 follows beautifully the conclusion of Psalm 65.

In Psalm 65:12-13, “the pastures” and “the hills” and “the meadows” and “the valleys” respond to God as “they shout . . . for joy.” And Psalm 66:1 invites “all the earth” to join the celebration: “Make a joyful noise to God.” The Hebrew verb is the same in both verses.

In Psalm 65, the creation is celebrating the life-giving rain that God provides (see verses 9-10); and in Psalm 66, the issue again is life. As verse 9 sums it up, God “has kept us among the living.” In terms of last week again, one might note the echoes of Psalm 16 in Psalm 66. There too, the psalmist was preserved from death and shown “the path of life” (16:11). In both Psalms 16 and 66, the psalmists describe the gift of life nearly identically. “I shall not be moved,” says the psalmist is 16:8; and the psalmist employs the same Hebrew root to affirm in 66:9 that God “has not let our feet slip.” In short, God wills and works for life.   

Given the focus on life, it is not surprising that Psalm 66 recalls reverently and joyfully what was for Israel the quintessential and paradigmatic life-giving event — the exodus from Egypt and from Pharoah’s death-dealing regime (verse 6). The final line of verse 6 — “There we rejoiced in him” — recalls the Song of the Sea, which reaches its initial culmination in Exodus 15:18 with the affirmation that “The LORD will reign forever and ever.”

The opening line of Psalm 66:7 expresses the same conviction (although the Hebrew verbs differ in the two verses): “who rules by his might forever.” Unlike many (or most, or perhaps all) human political systems, God’s rule involves the exercise of power (verse 3) on behalf of those whose lives are most threatened and vulnerable. This is precisely what is so “awesome” about God’s “deeds” (verses 3, 5).

God’s life-giving and life-sustaining exercise of power on behalf of the marginalized is also precisely what the psalmist wants the whole world to “Come and see” (verse 5). The same motivation is present in the book of Exodus where God speaks to Pharoah by way of Moses: “But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

Given the clear connections between Psalm 66 and the exodus, it is entirely appropriate that “all the earth” is included in the invitation to respond to God, including to “Come and see” (verses 1, 5); and it is noteworthy that “all the earth” is reported as having responded positively (verse 4). In both Exodus 9:16 and Psalm 66:2 and 4, God’s “name” is mentioned.

The word “name” connotes character and characteristic activity, and the message here does indeed resound clearly — that is, it is God’s character to will life for all, and God’s characteristic activity (verses 3, 5) is on behalf of those whose lives are most threatened and vulnerable (see also Psalm 113 for a similar focus on God’s “name,” accompanied by a description of God’s activity on behalf of the lowly and dispossessed).

Psalm 66 and its echoes of the exodus are apt reminders that the death-dealing systems of domination are still very much present in our contemporary world; and they are creating conditions that threaten the lives of millions, perhaps billions, of people everyday. We citizens of the United States are apt to think of totalitarian regimes somewhere far away; and we are likely to forget that one in six children in the United States lives in poverty, and that over 40 million of our citizens have no health insurance.

These realities make it all the more crucial that we contemporary readers of the Psalms attend carefully to the invitation to “Come and see what God has done” (verses 5, 16). And perhaps we will be moved to join the psalmist in extending the invitation to “all the earth.” The title of one of Douglas John Hall’s books accurately describes what we will be doing if we heed the psalmist’s invitation and join the psalmist in extending it to the world. The volume is entitled The Stewardship of Life in the Kingdom of Death and in keeping with Psalm 66 and its echoes of the exodus, Hall concludes simply, “Abundant life is the goal of our mission.”[1]

This is the case, of course, because abundant life is also the goal of God’s mission, as Jesus taught (see John 10:10). God is always intent upon keeping all people and us “among the living” (Psalm 66:9). Among the remarkable implications of this good news is that praise has a missional direction (see “praise” in verses 2, 8, along with a different Hebrew root translated “sing”/”sing praises” in verses 2, 4). To be sure, praise is a liturgical activity; but it is also a lifestyle that involves what Walter Brueggemann calls “lyrical self-abandonment.”[2]

Such “lyrical self-abandonment” will mean what is communicated by the invitation, “Bless our God” (verse 8; see Psalm 16:7 and last week’s essay). Since “bless” translates a Hebrew root that originally meant to kneel, it suggests submission to a sovereign master and to the master’s will. At this point, in other words, “praise” and “bless” are virtually synonymous (and NIV even translates verse 8 as “Praise our God”).

Both call us to renounce the selfish pursuits often involved in merely “making a living,” and to embrace the mission of joining God at God’s awesome, world-encompassing work of keeping all people “among the living.” Or, in terms again of the essay on Psalm 16, praise is the liturgy and lifestyle of those who embrace Israel’s radical monotheism.

[1] Douglas John Hall, The Stewardship of Life in the Kingdom of Death (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 113.

[2] Walter Brueggemann, “Bounded by Obedience and Praise: The Psalms as Canon,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 50 (1991): 67.

Second Reading

Commentary on Galatians 6:[1-6] 7-16

Sarah Henrich

The lectionary chooses both to make optional the first six verses in the chapter and to eliminate the final two verses, perhaps hoping to make the passage slightly less difficult to interpret.

That hope is not to be fulfilled. You may wish to include verses 1-6 and/or 17-18 in your preaching preparation for this text.

Verses 1-10 continue to explore what it means in a community to live by the Spirit over against the flesh. Paul’s words are powerful and challenging, laying out a dynamic that is very much not that of the way of the flesh or world. We’ll take a look at this section in just a moment. Then, verses 11-18 mark the ending of the letter almost literally, in that Paul calls upon his readers and hearers to look at the size of the letters he uses to create the postscript, as he does also in 1 Corinthians 16:21. Perhaps this is a way of emphasizing once again the points he has been trying to make.

For in Galatians 6:11-18, Paul again warns of the suspicious and unworthy motives of those who ask the new believers to be circumcised. He reminds his hearers that those who trouble them do not themselves keep the law. In ringing tones, he declares that there is something new in the world — new creation – and this is not an integration of two groups (the circumcised and the uncircumcised) but a new way for all God’s people to live together.

The letter ends with Paul’s own value as preacher and teacher underlined to support the value of his message and a final word of blessing. The lectionary divisions cut across the ordinary boundaries of the text. Instead of speculating about why that may be, let’s look at each section in turn to get at Paul’s meaning.

Verses 1-6 allow Paul to say more about what the life of people who live by the Spirit looks like. The list of virtues we saw in 5:22 are really all about relationships and how we manage life together. The baptized, those brought into ancient people of God in a new way are to fulfill a new law, that of Christ, by bearing one another’s burdens. Paul describes the radical mutuality of such a life. Assist one another and evaluate only yourself. Do what is given you to do on behalf of your neighbor, as God on behalf of God’s people did what needed to be done for them. By exhorting his hearers not to grow tired, Paul reminds us that this is indeed a hard way to live.

Such a life needs graciousness, perseverance, a constant cheerful sowing, and a refusal to judge who is worthy of help and who not. Such a life needs the Spirit’s presence surrounding and infusing it. It needs the presence of other persons so infused (the pneumatikoi in verse 1) to assist us when we falter.

Paul moves rather abruptly to call attention to his handwritten final words of admonition. He contrasts the motives of the would-be circumcisers (verses 12-13) with his own (verses 14-15). In doing so, he highlights again that the cross of Christ has utterly changed his — and by extension our — relationship to the world. The world (kosmos) is an amalgam of all the ways of the flesh that Paul has just dismissed for believers.

The old way is simply over; think back to Paul’s statement that we have been “rescued from the present age of evil” by God’s action in Christ. Now we are beyond old divisions as we live as God’s people: “new creation” (verse 15) is the way of the Spirit. It is the “next age.” It is where we live however imperfectly and in this new age we live by this “measure” (kanoni, verse 16), the “law of Christ” (6:2), namely that we bear one another’s burdens.

It’s almost a crazy project, isn’t it? To imagine that we human beings could eschew the measurements of value used in the everyday world? To imagine that human beings could devote themselves to one another’s well being, confident that there would be others who would care for them? To insist, especially now, twenty centuries later, that we are no longer under the powers of the “present age” but live and die under the aegis of God’s spirit? To imagine that God, through God’s body, bears our burdens?

All our best thinking, our most ardent scripture study, our personal experiences of God’s Spirit –all these must be brought into the mix as we seek to ponder what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself,” (Leviticus 19:18) or “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) or, simply, “show mercy” (Luke 10:37, paraphrased).

Yet it is to this project, this imagination empowered by the Spirit, that Paul summons us in no uncertain terms with the words “new creation.” How do we hear that Spirit? How do we grow our imagination of God’s new creation, elusive from the very start of human life in this world? And how might we function in such a way not given over to the standards of the flesh or the world?

There are no easy answers to this or the Galatians would probably have figured it out for themselves. There are no shortcuts or Paul would not have felt so strongly about turning back to the standards of (literally) an age gone by. The Gentiles did not need to become God’s people in the old ways: they had received the Spirit. As have we.

Perhaps the best way to fire our imaginations and live in accord with that spirit requires us to do the burden bearing more graciously. That is, we are privileged to hear one another’s dreams and desires, to continuously extend the tables at which we sit, the suppers we call Holy, to make room for folk who will see gifts and challenges that surprise us. In listening, in surprise, in hospitality for a moment we catch a richer glimpse of God’s reality and find the energy of the Spirit, lest we grow weary.