Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 30:1-5
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.*
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.
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, … Luke 16:10-18” Speaking from a spiritual sense, our relationship with God is as serious as two people committed in marriage. We commit ourselves to God’s law and when we break away from God’s law and commit ourselves to other things, it’s like committing adultery. Because God is faithful, God will respond to faith. We can’t go both ways. We can’t be married to both God and wealth. Gracious God, guide me, hold me and forgive me. Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth (Psalm 31:5). We can only serve one God.
I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg (Luke 16:1-9). I always thought this was a quirky story. A manager gets caught “with his hands in the cookie jar” and is about to lose his job. His selfishness then turns to generosity towards the “marginalized” but in reality it’s all out of trying to help himself. Just as he is about to lose all that he’s been given (or taken), he reaches out to those whom he thinks might help him down the line when he needs it the most. We must take care that this manager is not us, yet we must also be wise enough to understand that we often interact with people who are but not to get caught in the web. Thank you God, for we understand that generosity is not about us, but about the other without condition or ulterior motives. Help us to continually use the gifts you have given us for others without judgment so that in the end we too will be welcome into your eternal home.
If I counted the times I felt lost, unnoticed or abandoned, I’d lose my way yet again. There is comfort in accepting the fact that only in our own eyes are we ever really lost. For God always knows where we are, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go. It is because even in our unrighteousness, our sometimes wayward steps and self condemnation, we are valued by our Creator. Regardless of how hard we are on ourselves, God rejoices in our continuous struggle to be found; to reconcile ourselves to God’s grace of loving us, especially when we are unable to love ourselves. Thank you God for even when we are lost we are never devalued. Your Holy Spirit continues to seek us out and when we find each other again, sings out – Rejoice… for I have found my (lost) sheep; …my (valued) coin! Luke 15:1-10
While taking a walk, a sign reading, “Ivy League Doctors in Media”, a small town in eastern Pennsylvania caught my eye. Just the day before I’d attended the commencement ceremony of an Ivy league school in which the commencement speaker’s address was quite engaging. She did mention the fact that having a degree from this school was quite an accomplishment and would open doors, but she spent more time speaking about relationships and the importance of using this key to unlock the way to success. So what’s wrong with the sign? Perhaps nothing, if you heard that address and you were able to make the connection that an Ivy League education translates to those doctors’ willingness to truly know their patients. However, if that’s important to you and you didn’t hear the address, you would have to make an assumption, take a leap of faith that these doctors in fact heard a similar commencement address, took it to heart and built a successful practice founded on their desire to build relationships. I have to admit, although I did hear the address – I didn’t take that leap. The first thing that came to mind was perhaps their assumption that the institution was more important to someone like myself who might be looking for a doctor. However, I must also admit that if I was in need of a doctor, out of curiosity I probably would have reached out. No doubt, Ivy League is one of the best (certainly among the oldest), but I still don’t know know you from a can a paint and the only way I can tell if a can of paint has any quality regardless of the brand is if I open it up and use it. Only after a period of time will I know how well it holds up. I recall thousands of Ivy League graduates on that field and not all of them were adorned with those honor chords, representing the best of this quality education. In fact there were far more who had no honor chords than those who did. How do I know whether these doctors were among the best of the best or judging from the sign, among the “slackers” who think that merely having an Ivy League education is enough. Knowledge as we know, even in its purest and rarest form, does not measure up pure compassion, empathy or more importantly, relational sensibilities. After having heard that commencement address to undoubtedly a group of the best and brightest students of this time, when it comes to professions it would in part, certainly ease my mind to find someone with the knowledge and the know how, but deep down the other part of what’s most important to me is that the person truly cares. This simply can’t be done by the yardstick of knowledge. One must be willing to reach out as well as be willing to find ways and allow others to reach in. Don’t ask me to trust you solely based on what you know. No one has an open and honest relationship with an institution. Only people can do that. Meet me where I am and together let us build a better humanity that does not cloud one another’s expectation nor make assumptions about who we are and what we have to offer. Let the comfort of us knowing one another in relationship be the true asset and the knowledge simply be the fringe benefit of our lives. For me, it is in this way that I come to understand God, through Christ’s relationships, not by the fact that they called him rabbi or teacher. It is also in this way that I believe we are all called. Every individual needs other individuals (Susan Powers, Commencement Address 2015 U of PA). It’s as simple as that, a golden rule often interpreted as a permeable understanding. But we can not afford to forget or even allow it to become full of holes for our own purposes, because in the end none of us will be remembered or measured solely by what we know but rather in community and how we made a positive difference in the lives of one another. It is possible to have both and that in my opinion is true Ivy League.
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 90:1-4, 16-17
Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust,
and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses… Hebrews 4:14-5-6 Why is it that as children, we never seem to understand that what we go through our parents have already experienced? Tomorrow my youngest son graduates from college. I now get to feel what my mother and father felt when I graduated from college. As I reminisce my yesterdays, every bit of this precious circle of life makes sense. Thank you gracious God for though your son there is not one emotion; pain, joy, encouragement or fear, that is unique to any one of us. When we begin to see you as the parent sees the child, in the same way you carried your son through it all – you carry us through.
Do not be deceived… there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:16-27 As the sun “rises and sets” so does the shadow reflect from the body; sometimes in front and sometimes it’s behind us. Thank you God, for regardless of the shadows reflected by my actions and choices I’ve made, your love for me never changes. Guide me daily to forever be a doer of your Word, so that as this earth that is the body moves, I may never forget the sun.
For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people, and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places. Wisdom 19:1-22
Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 27:1-5
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
For your sustenance manifested your sweetness toward your children; and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one who took it, was changed to suit everyone’s liking. As a child in my parents house, each of us had our own box of cereal. A small thing, but a privilege nonetheless, on in which I never thought was that big of a deal until I met my husband. He was one of eight children who often shared one box. Undoubtedly, someone was bound to hate that one box of cereal. Gracious God, thank you for your one everlasting Love, while remaining the same, serves and fulfills a multitude of children with a multitude of needs.