Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 138 1-3
I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down towards your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.
Circumcise, then, the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn any longer. Deut. 10:12-22 I work in several communities that have their problems. But then what community doesn’t. Almost everyday is spent peeling back layers of thought, ego and self-servitude, my own examination within me to help ensure that what I’m doing is reaching the heart of God’s mission. Circumcision is a uncomfortable and painful process. Yet, as I slowly cut away the excesses of the world I am blessed to experience the graciousness of God’s grace and help in times of need and strengthened to continue the peeling process as I leave the pain of every layer that is cut away behind me. Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One have grace and mercy upon us as we work to approach the heart of your throne.
Although for all of our efforts, we have been somewhat successful in bringing everyone to the table of freedom and justice, we realize that often times it is purely superficial. Being at the table doesn’t necessarily mean that deep-rooted fears have been pulled out. No matter how far we dig to cut into that fear there is always that small part left behind that manages to rise back through the surface. The only thing that leads to the expulsion of deep-rooted fear is deep-rooted Love. That for me at least is the new dream; a preeminent call to consciousness of the deeply rooted Love that God has for all of us, to think and act according to God’s Love, which shows no partiality in mind body or spirit. Think about it. If it were not possible why would God even bother to give us such a great commission? The Spirit of history behind us has proven that we are in fact capable of this greater call. Precious Lord, lead us to always strive to rise to this challenge of consciousness of the Spirit of God within us that we may sustain it both in our hearts and minds to the glory of your name.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:1-10
Working by committee at times can be difficult, particularly when the goal is consensus. It’s hard to get everybody on the same page. Sometimes compromises have to be made, but above all there must be trust in that although everyone may not get what they want, everyone feels comfortable enough to trust that the faithful work put forth was heartfelt in bringing the group to a final consensus. Bringing people together around a central focus has always been a challenging task even for those who are trained to do the work. Ideals aren’t easily moved or changed especially when there is an expectation that something of value to us is going to be lost. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that for some today may seem like a small thing but at the time was fought for by the faithful work of many groups of people, the fruit of which we are experiencing today. While we do see multicultural/racial playgrounds and multi-cultural/racial boardrooms among other things, they are only partial fulfillments of the ideals which God has placed before us; the spiritual renewing of our minds towards Christ. Gracious God as we continue to bring others into the fold of your kingdom to sit at your table, always keep us ever mindful of our final consensus as a people of God according to your Word, and your Will.
“Lord, you know everyone’s heart…” Acts 1:15-26 Hopefully over time, each of us has the privilege of learning a truer meaning of friendship. For certain, friends hold a special place in our hearts. I used to think that I chose my friends, but when I thought back over my life I realized that more often than not my friends chose me. People will come and go in our lives, some remain acquaintances. Others stay with us even during the times you are apart because with friends, memories are easy to rekindle, the present is unabashedly shared, and the future is encouragingly rejoiced. That’s a relationship in the spirit relishing the moments of those valuable times in our lives. Most gracious Immanuel, thank you, for your presence as marked by our true friendships of those you have already known, and in the way that you have already chosen us.
The moment we decide to make a change or adhere to a commitment in our lives, almost immediately we are drawn in to a wilderness. The kind of wilderness that doesn’t know anything about the change to which we’ve committee ourselves. It’s the kind of wilderness that doesn’t take into account the reasons for our change nor does it care about our purpose or our goal. It’s a wilderness that isn’t interested in being cultivated, inhabited or hospitable. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our attempts to cultivate our inner Spirit towards God were unaffected by this wilderness? Yet, the wilderness exists as simply a part of this world of which we must journey and the strength of who we are which comes from that inner Spirit leads us through it. Without our commitment, purpose and goals guided by the Holy Spirit of God, we will surely get lost in that wilderness! Prayerfully, of the times we do get lost in the distractions, we remember our commitment to that inner Spirit. Precious God, as we make every attempt to draw ever closer to your will, thank you for your traveling mercies through the wilderness of this world.
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. Mark 1:9-15
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 30:4-6,11-12
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.
… God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty… As I began to read this passage in Deuteronomy ( 7:12-16), I thought about the many promises we make to one another and the times we’re not always able to keep them. We find ourselves beholden to things and or people that keep us from living into the fullness of life that is promised by God. The fullness however is not about the things or the people. Fullness, I believe, is about the peace of knowing God which surpasses all understanding of anything else we claim to know and the willing action of the encompassing energy of God’s love for God’s creation. Precious Lord, guide our actions that they may become aligned with your Love and allow us to experience the fullness of your Glory.
As a parent one of the most difficult trials is waiting for a child to reach certain levels of understanding about compassion, consideration, judgment and discernment of life. We ask ourselves; “When will they ever learn?” I remember the first time I pondered this experience and almost immediately the Spirit within me asked; “How do you think I feel?” Maturity of the Spirit doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes along the way we forget who we are as children of God. Yet, in the same way that a parent waits with hope and encouragement for a child to come into her own, how much more will God wait for us?
Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
when he delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
for the Lord holds us by the hand.
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are ever giving liberally and lending,
and their children become a blessing. Psalm 37:23-26
Marcus Aurelius wrote; “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” We have within us the ability to change and grow. The question is whether or not we will open ourselves to every opportunity to change and grow. Today we move into the Lenten season. For some it’s a time of discipline and others a time of self reflection. Either way, we anticipate that when the season comes to a close, we are strengthened by our perseverance and have opened ourselves a little more to God’s will in our lives. Change as we know can be scary but is part of the process of growth, which doesn’t always come easy. Our learning curves can sometimes be rather stubborn. For this reason the season of Lent, spiritually never has and ending. Gracious God help us to know ourselves well enough to understand that there is always more to be known.
…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14; Jonah 3:1-4:11