From the Well 7/5/2018

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Mark 6:1-13 (NRSV) 
1 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

On September 20, 1989, F.W. de Klerk was inaugurated as President of South Africa. Unlike many of the leaders of others nations, de Klerk regularly went to church. No one in South Africa was surprised that, on the day of his inauguration, he invited his favorite pastor, a man named Pieter Bingle, to lead a worship service in Pretoria.

During the sermon, Pastor Bingle spoke, "Mr. de Klerk, as our new President, God is calling you to do his will. Today God calls you to serve as the President of South Africa. God's commission is not to serve as the President of some of the people, but as the President of all the people of South Africa."

By the benediction, de Klerk, was weeping. He called his family and friends together and said, "Pray for me, God has told me what I must do. And if I do it, I will be rejected by my own people. Pray for me, that I might do the will of God."[1] Soon thereafter, de Klerk took steps to negotiate with the African National Congress. Then he worked to dismantle the system of apartheid. De Klerk heard God and said "no" to the way things were.

Sometimes it's important that we embrace God's "no." De Klerk paid the price but he followed God's path. Jesus was told "no" by his hometown people but went from there into Galilee to preach and perform great works. What do you do when confronted with "no?" What do you do when you are challenged to say "no" in the face of injustice, persecution, hunger, self-centeredness, racism, and hatred? What path will you follow? Think about it.

Matthew

[1]Robert Harvey, The Fall of Apartheid (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: Palgrave, 2001), 192.