Excerpts from Pastor Cheryl Hoffman's sermon for Sunday, October 17th. Readings: Hebrews 5: 1-10, Psalm 91: 9-16, Mark 10:35-45.
Here’s another gem from the Society of the Holy Trinity retreat I attended last month. A fellow member, whom I did not personally know, came up to me one morning, while I was getting some orange juice, and asked if I knew the question of the day.
“No, I don’t.”
He proceeded to ask, “Do you know the name of your guardian angel?”
I promptly responded, “Yes. Michael.”
After a brief moment of surprise that I actually had an answer, he shared that his angel’s name was Sebastian, and we went our separate ways.
A few minutes later this same person showed up at the table as I was eating my breakfast. He asked my table mates the same questions: “Do you know the question of the day?” and “Do you know the name of your guardian angel?”
The breakfast gang was a little more taken aback by the queries. Our brother went on to explain that a former spiritual director had first posed this question to him years ago. When he didn’t know the answer, he decided to start asking. So, he prayed, asking about his guardian angel, until he felt the name, Sebastian, was given to him in answer.
I have to say there were some uncertain, and skeptical, glances passed around our table after our brother walked away. But something stuck with me from that encounter, and I’ve pondered it daily ever since. I’m not sure if these words were spoken out loud in the exchange, or if they just popped into my own head. Either way, they continue to challenge me: “You can’t know if you don’t ask.”
James and John are arrogant. Peter is bold, and sometimes, in his boldness, foolhardy. But James and John, the sons of Zebedee, the brothers of thunder, are just outright arrogant. “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
There is not a single teacher in any of my 21 years, or four degrees, of schooling, I would go to and say, “Teacher, I want you to do for me whatever I ask of you.”
And, to ask the Son of God? Who were they kidding? Who did they think they were?...