Lo I Am with You

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 21-22; Matthew 28

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16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age” (Matthew 28:16-20, Common English Bible).

For those of us who are over the age of about 40 (as well as others because of their church affiliation) and grew up in the Church, there is a pretty good chance we grew up with the King James Bible and whatever Scripture we may have memorized, there is a pretty good chance you memorized it in the Elizabethan English of the King James Version.

When we read the 23rd Psalm many of us, even if we are reading from a different version of the Bible, what we read in our mind is “…Yea tho I walk through the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me…”

Every year on Christmas Eve, I read the Christmas story from Luke 2 during worship. I have a couple of reasons for doing that. First, I always use my great-grandmother’s Bible. My paternal grandmother gave it to me when I went into the ministry. I always use large print Bibles when I read from the pulpit and that is the only large print King James I have. There is also some sentimental value to using it. The other reason I read from King James is, when it comes to the Christmas story, King James is what most of us what to hear at Christmas time.

There is another verse (probably many more) that a lot of us memorized in a  children’s Sunday school class. It is part of today’s lesson. It is the last sentence of the last verse. You can go back up and re-read it from Common English if you would like. But the King James Version says, “…and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The story is told about a young man named Lo who lived in China who was a convert to the faith. One day he was reading a Bible with the missionary beside him who first told him about Jesus. He read that last sentence of Matthew’s Gospel and then started pulling the shirt sleeve of the missionary. “Look, look, he said, Jesus is speaking to me, “Lo, I am with you always!”

We might laugh at the simple faith. And, I would say there is a good chance the story is more legend or even parable than truth. Still, that simple faith shouts truth to anyone who reads it because Lo (the man), Jesus is with you always.

It seems to me, we all could take out the word “lo” from our reading and substitute our own name. Then it might read, “Hannah, I am with you always.” Another might see, “Bob, I am with you always.” Whether our name is Fred or Sheila or Keith or Cindy or any other names we could think of, we all trust by faith that Jesus is with us always. Really, read that verse one more time, and substitute your name for the word “Lo.” Praise God we know, God is with us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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