The Great Commission- Matthew 28
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[d]
The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God
A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.
34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
6 This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.
Be United, Joyful, and in Prayer
2 I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And[a] I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greeting and Blessing
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.[c] Amen.
Rejoice! This is an exercise of joy.
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Leave the gun and take the cannoli.”- Wise words of a decent man
The following is a short story I wrote reflecting on my first year of seminary. Hope you enjoy.
I had a dream last night that I was back in Richmond at a Golden Krust. I knew I was dreaming so I didn’t stop to think, “There isn’t a Golden Krust in Richmond. Are you sure you don’t mean Jamaica House?” But it was a Golden Krust. I was there with a friend from Union named Caleb. Caleb is a wonderful guy who’s father was a minister who spoke against Jim Crow in North Carolina. He’s someone who I look upon with great respect because he relayed a pearl that his father intimated to him. “You won’t reach anyone from your pulpit unless you hear them on their porch.”
We walked from campus to the Golden Krust. The campus had sprawling lawns, tall, newly renovated facilities and lots of happy seminarians going from glory to glory. We shared our greetings with a group of students, asked them to join us for lunch and then continued on our way. The details of the conversation escape me as dream dialogue often does but we quickly arrived at the restaurant. We were inside and walking down the wheelchair ramp when I realized we were in a mall food court. It was no Golden Krust at all but was a Bojangles. Caleb said to me, “You’re the first African-American at this establishment no doubt.” I remarked that it was a pity because I’m Jamaican-American and Richmond owes a lot more to African-Americans than to black people en masse. He said, “At any rate. Let’s dig in.” I don’t know how food was already in front of us. But I unwrapped the tower on my left and it exposed a chicken biscuit, coffee, and sausage biscuit. I exclaimed, “Who could eat all this?!” Knowing that I was able to but refused to overindulge. I unwrapped the chicken biscuit and took the first bite. I didn’t taste anything although I have had dreams where I can smell and/or taste. I readied myself for the next bite when I notice that I was no longer holding a chicken biscuit. The yellow wrapping paper was still there but the biscuit now housed a bounty of mealworms pouring themselves onto the floor. I woke up before I could account for the worms I’d digested.
“Back to life…back to reality”- En Vogue (Right? Nah it was Soul II Soul.)
One of the hardest things about returning to normalcy after traumatic life events is the inevitable realization that people are rude. You can get really used to everyone being so nice to you, sympathetic and loving that you almost forget there are people who really don’t care.
The day after I was diagnosed with lupus I wanted to call everyone on my phone and let them know the good news. I called my loved ones with joy because at least we knew what we were dealing with right? Wrong. Wrong.
I hated telling folks about this because it felt like I was dropping a bomb on their lives. Here I am acting like I just got into Yale (or some other fine institution of intellectual pursuit) and people who love me are suffering.
It’s easy to make this all about yourself. Undoubtedly, whatever difficulty you are facing is difficult but I believe that it is even harder to WITNESS the suffering of your loved ones.
You may never know the full hundred.
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