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olivetreeIn his opening greeting to the Colossians Paul writes of his gratitude to God for the way they have accepted the “good news” of Christ and how their faith has increased their love for one another. He says, “Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you…”(COL 1:1-8) The psalmist follows this theme as he sings of what God has done for him: “Look, Lord, see how I grow up in the garden of your house. Like an olive tree my roots sink deep in you. I’m green and succulent, for your goodness never fades.” (Ps. 52) All of this recognition of God’s grace is good, but Luke’s gospel contains a reminder of how spiritual maturity must happen.

Jesus has been doing lots of healing: Peter’s mother-in-law, others with various diseases, people from whom he has cast out demons…so in the early morning of the next day, Jesus slips away “to a deserted place.” The crowds obviously do not understand his need for silence and refreshment in God because they follow him and try to prevent him from leaving them. He reminds them that his mission is broader than just their needs, that he has been sent to other towns as well and he must go. (LK 4:38-44)

My question this morning is whether I would have been one of the grasping ones in that crowd. Having tasted the joy of the spiritual life, would I have been selfish, wanting to have more of the presence of Jesus to the detriment of those who had not yet experienced him? Would I have let him go, knowing that, once I had touched God, I would never again be without that presence? Would I have surrendered in generosity to others and lived in the love I had been given? Do I live that way now?