Holy Week – “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the LORD, and my reward with my God.” And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, …. I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength… Israel 49:1-7 Thank you God for perhaps we haven’t achieved all of our desired goals, but the foolish, the weak and the lowly are not counted out by this one journey. Instead, we are encouraged to continue in this spiritual season even as the physical season comes to an end. As our time remains in your hands we are guided out of darkness in to your light and we shall never labor in vain.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgements are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart! Psalm 36:5-10
There are days when the path we walk seems long. Thank you God for I know that your Love is greater than all my fears, all my enemies, all my tears. Your Spirit tells me to hang in there and I do. You alone are my reward because you have already traveled this road and marked my every step. If I remain in the Spirit of your Presence, I know that by your Love I never walk alone.
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 144:12-15
May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars,
cut for the building of a palace.
May our barns be filled
with produce of every kind;
may our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields,
and may our cattle be heavy with young.
May there be no breach in the walls,* no exile,
and no cry of distress in our streets.
Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall;
happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes… Jeremiah 29:1-13 Merciful God, thank you. For in the passion of our own lives you promise to redeem us.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. Psalm 131
Thank you gracious God, for by your Word you have sustained me. Influenced by your Spirit, I know all too well that since my youth it was you that has brought me to this place of strength. I will hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
Today, as we are nearing the end of the Lenten season we celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord to Mary and her willingness to say yes. When we read the story in scripture it makes it sound as if her response was immediate. There was some pondering of course but no significant amount of time lapse; no altar ego voices battling out across her shoulders or time to call up a life line to ask a close friend “what do you think about this….?” Mary accepted the message for what it was – a blessing from God. If I heard from God as clearly as I believe Mary heard God that solemn evening, I’d like to think that my response would be a quick one as well. Although I can’t remember ever having that privilege, I have learned that we believers should always be listening for God even it we are not ready to accept what he needs us to hear. No doubt, in a world of temporal stimuli getting to “yes” can be challenging but with God all things are possible. Thank you God for in both the good and difficult times in our lives we are reminded in this season of Lent that through Mary’s “quick” response we too have found favor even as we continue to ponder your Word in our own lives.
He deserves a second chance. Mo’ne Davis forgives the college baseball player who insults her with heinous language and responds with speaking truth to an action that outrages many of us who are authentic adults. How can we not be proud by her showing such maturity and grace even in the face of systemic bigotry and racism that rears its ugly head upon the innocence of a child who clearly understands the fundamental Christian right of forgiving and being forgiven. While it is difficult to put our feelings aside concerning yet another act of cyber-bullying, this one thing we know; God both forgives and hears the prayers of the righteous. So yes Mo’ne, everyone deserves a second chance and you have paved a way for him to receive it, but perhaps not today. Perhaps not before he has learned and fully understands that same maturity and grace that helped you to move beyond such ignorance and respond according to the values many out there claim to live but rarely display. Gracious God thank you for through the heart of a child we shall all be saved.
…unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies… John 12:20-33 As we move into the homestretch of Lent, prayerfully and hopefully we are finding our selves ever closer to that ready presence of God. The time it takes us to call on God as if God is in some distant place and recognizing that God’s presence has always been “closer than it appears” should be getting a little shorter. Our ability to identify pieces of our own life in the life of Christ is slightly less challenging and letting go of the “slight of hand” stuff and “off the cuff remarks” don’t hang around our thought processes nearly as long as they use to. For certain the hurtful things people say and do still causes some pain but as our spirit is ever closer and right with God we are learning to let the hull from that grain fall off and die because God is creating something new within us. Once again a wonderful resurrection. That you God for your presence. Let the disciplines of our Lenten season continue to gird up our faith as we approach the Easter of our lives and live a renewed Spirit
Saturday’s Meditation: Psalm 33:20-22
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:28-39 Sometimes I have to remind myself that there are battles that have already been won on my behalf; that my focus according to God’s word is often at odds with the world and that what presents itself as wilderness to me, God is able to see through. Thank you Lord God. Teach me to trust and guide me along the way you have already prepared. For I know that no matter what, I am never separated from your Love.