The lessons for Sunday bring up the casting of lots, a practice that has fallen into disrepute. When a Diocese prepares to elect a bishop or a parish to call a new rector, no one suggests the casting of lots!
The truth is that the casting of lots in the Biblical sense is not the purely random thing we sometimes think it to be, and, I believe, really has something to commend in it.
This Sunday we will read the account from Acts of the selection of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the twelve Apostles. (Click here to read it.) The process was actually quite intentional. The other apostles gathered in prayer. They considered the qualifications necessary for the office of Apostle. In this case, they looked for those who had been with Jesus from the Baptism of John through the Ascension. They sought out those who met those qualifications – in this case, Matthias and Joseph. Then they prayed again, entrusting the process to the Lord, and finally, they cast lots to let the Lord speak and Matthias was chosen.
We pray, but we often have a hard time listening to the Lord in our decision making processes. I’m not going to suggest that we start casting lots for every decision to be made (a roll of the dice for everything from hymn selection to the budget?). Yet, we do need to find ways to allow the Lord to speak to us in prayer and as a community when important decisions are before us.
Finding ways may look different for different decisions, but it will certainly include intentional time of prayer, and time to listen. Then, maybe a little casting of lots would heal us of the need to be in control — the greatest challenge in listening to the Lord!
This column is from the May 13, 2018 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.