There are so many ideas that come together in the Lectionary readings for this week: wisdom, the power of the tongue, and taking up the cross. What holds all of these ideas together is the call to live with integrity. Integrity is not the easy choice – which is why it so easily gets put aside when we face the tough moments in our lives. Perhaps the greatest threat to our integrity is the siren call of expediency and consumerism. It’s far easier to seek out “sexy” worship services that make us feel good, but leave our garbage unchallenged, than it is to hold ourselves accountable to the Gospel. It is far easier to “go with the flow” than to stand up for truth, justice and love, especially among our own family members and friends. But we all know the power of a life of integrity. We have all been touched in positive ways by people of integrity. This week, the Scriptures will call us to raise the “integrity quotient” of our lives.

We live with integrity when we embrace God’s wisdom and live it out, rather than just speaking words that we do not put into action. We live with integrity when we stay faithful to God’s ways, and speak God’s message, even though it may result in suffering, struggle and sacrifice. We live with integrity when we acknowledge who Jesus is and proclaim him as the Christ, while understanding that he is a crucified God who calls us to take up our own crosses. We live with integrity when our lives reflect the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and when our words are filled with praise, blessing and wisdom, rather than cursing. When our words, our thoughts, our attitudes and our actions all align with one another, and with the ways of God that were taught and lived by Jesus, then our lives are lives of integrity and they are lives that add value and make a life-giving contribution to the world.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.