Archive for November, 2013

Matthew 24:36-44

November 29, 2013

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.  Matthew 24:36-44

 

This Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, marks the first Sunday of the new Christian year.  What does it mean for us to begin a new year with a gospel reading that is so often seen only as a promise (warning?) of the second coming, or the final appearing, of Jesus?

 

Stephen Covey is credited with the phrase “begin with the end in mind.”  He included this maxim among his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  I first read that book at the suggestion of Kirt Tabbert.  Kirt was a key leader in the congregation I served and one of many people from whom I learned much more than he ever learned from me.  I immediately bought and read the book.  I have been chasing these habits since then:

 

1.  Be proactive. Don’t stand still. Take the initiative and be responsible.

2.  Begin with the end in mind. Start any activity, a meeting, run, day, or life, with an end in mind. Work to that end and make sure your values are aligned with your goals.

3.  Put first things first. Prioritize your life so you’re working on the important stuff.

4.  Think win/win. Not everything has to be “I win, you lose”.  Creatively find ways so that everyone wins together.

5.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Listen to empathize, obtain information, and understand the other person’s point of view.

6.  Synergize. Work to create outcomes that are greater than the individual parts.

7.  Sharpen the saw. Cultivate the essential elements of your character: physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual.

 

I still find those seven habits (although they don’t align directly, who can’t hear the echoes of the seven deadly sins?) to be excellent distillations of following Jesus in a life of faith.  Such habits guide a life lived on purpose, for a purpose, that is greater than ourselves.

 

So we begin a new year with anticipation, expecting, the miracle of Jesus’ appearing, not simply at the end of time, but in our daily lives.  This is about expectation born of faith, not dread born of fear.  God does amazing things.  Why not now?  Why not among us?  Why not through us?

 

Let us pray:  Open our hearts and minds, Lord, that we might more clearly anticipate and even expect your continuing presence, your captivating power, and your creative passion in, among, around, and through us.  As we move into a new year of worship, witness, and service, we pray that you might do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and that we might do what only we can do, always beginning with the end in mind.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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Romans 13:11-14

November 27, 2013

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  Romans 13:11-14

 

“Could you not stay awake for just one hour?”  We remember those words from Jesus to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus in one corner of the garden – tormented, terrified – and for good reason.  The disciples, soundly asleep, blissfully unaware of what Jesus was going through…and would soon go through.

 

He went back to them twice.  Obviously, the answer was no.  They could not stay awake.  No matter what the situation or circumstance, they couldn’t stay awake.

 

Back in the days of playing sports, “Wake up!” was a pretty common comment.  It usually came after you did something stupid or failed to do what you were supposed to do.  It meant that you weren’t paying attention.  You weren’t concentrating.  Your body was there but your mind was taking a break.

 

Today it is the Apostle Paul inviting the Romans to wake up.  When you hear this text on Sunday you will only hear these verses.  But if you take the time to read the entire 13th and 14th chapters you will see that Paul is urging the Romans to make the most of the time they have – for the sake of the new community they have now joined, and for the sake of the surrounding community. 

 

The operative value is love for their neighbor.  The new question isn’t “What’s in it for me?” but “How can I live in a manner which most accurately reflects the power of God’s love at work in my life?”

 

At some point tonight I will lay down to sleep in Lima, Peru.  Tomorrow I will walk out into streets where I – white, gray-haired, 6’6” tall, 350 lbs – will probably stick out like a sore thumb.  I’m not the kind of physical presence that easily blends into the background.  But I hope, as I represent Faith Lutheran Church in the company our partners at Vida Nueva Lutheran Church, it isn’t the size of my body but the size of God’s love that leaves the biggest impression.

 

But that won’t come easily for me.  For me, the ability to listen more than talk, to avoid snap judgments, to be patient and kind, takes effort.  It requires concentration and focus.  I think that is the stance, the way of being, that Paul invites us into as we carry, and are carried by, the love of God into the world.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, most of the time we find ourselves stumbling half awake through the dark, just doing what comes naturally without paying much attention.  Help us stay awake, alert, mindful of how our lives impact the lives of others.  May we live today out of love, doing the next right thing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 122

November 26, 2013

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.

To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to

            the name of the Lord.

For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.

Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”

For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Psalm 122

 

Often we make fun of people who sit in the same seats every Sunday morning.  I suppose there could be something dark in that, something inappropriately territorial, something even approaching idolatrous.  We will always have that tendency in us to spoil things by our own self-centeredness.  But we are creatures, including creatures of habit, and there is something soothing, comforting, nurturing, in our rituals and routines.  Even claiming our space within holy spaces.

 

There is something in us that loves holy spaces.  Holy spaces literally “ground us”.  Such holy spaces might include the sanctuaries in which we worship but there are lots of other spaces in our lives in which we invest great meaning and significance.  The list is long.  The Lincoln Memorial.  Fenway Park.  Yellowstone National Park.  Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore.  The spot where the accident happened…

 

Jerusalem is such a holy space. 

 

When you are there it feels like you are in the epicenter of reality.  You can understand how native cultures would see holy spaces as the “bellybutton” of creation.  I remember being in the Old City after dark, looking up at the moon, just as I had done while standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, realizing that Jesus himself had no doubt noticed the same moon.  In those moments we feel connected to God in ways that are seemingly unavailable anywhere else.

 

For the people of Israel, Jerusalem was God’s home.  The temple was God’s house.  The holy of holies was God’s throne.  They meant that quite literally.  Territorially.  You can imagine the flood of feelings that a pilgrim would have felt upon seeing the city rising up on its hill after the long journey to the latest festival.  They went to the city to get right with God – which would put the rest of their lives in order as well.

 

We need that sense of connectedness.  We need holy spaces.  But we ought never forget the dark side of that need – for we can just as easily leave God behind as we leave the spaces, unmindful that God in and with us makes everywhere we go a holy space.

 

Enter Jesus.  The end of ritual sacrifice.  The temple curtain torn in two, never again to hold the presence of God to a specific location, God unleashed in the world.  The promise that God is present wherever two or three are gathered together.  The world, the cosmos, a holy space, full of the presence of God.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we need a sense of your presence in our lives.  Knowing you are with us both comforts and challenges us.  Thank you for those holy spaces and holy moments when the veil seems lifted and we come back to the center of our being.  May we be ever glad to go to the house of the Lord, to sing praises in the company of others, to be renewed and refreshed and reminded.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

November 25, 2013

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!  Isaiah 2:1-5

 

This week will be a quite an adventure for me.  I’m taking a quick trip down south.

 

First, some context:  Our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has a “companion synod” program that links groups of congregations in the United States with groups of congregations around the world.  Our synod, the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, has companion relationships with the Lutheran churches in the Central African Republic and in Peru.  Our congregation, Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, TX, has a partnership relationship with Vida Nueva Lutheran Church in Lima.

 

The key word in how our denomination views such partnerships is “accompaniment.”  This word represents a key shift in how we understand “mission” work today.  At one time, we thought that we were “bringing the gospel” to lands where it had not been heard.  Today, we have come to a new place – call it humility, wisdom, or just practical common sense – where we realize that the real work of mission is not bringing God to somewhere where God hasn’t been but rather the willingness to engage others by walking together in mutually exploring what God is up to in both of our contexts.

 

For us at Faith, our partnership with Vida Nueva means that some of our members have traveled to Peru each of the past few summers with other people from our synod.  We have the means to make such trips and we look forward to the day when economics and border issues make it possible for members of Vida Nueva can come to visit us as well. 

 

We have brought school supplies as practical help for the children of Vida Nueva but more importantly, as a symbol that we value learning as a key aspect of our ministry.  We send a measure of financial support.  We also pray every Sunday morning for the ministry of Vida Nueva.  By naming our partner in worship we are reminded of the global reach of the gospel and that we are linked to a worshipping community that has much to teach us and vice versa.

 

This week I and another member of Faith will travel to Lima to join the congregation of Vida Nueva in greeting the new Christian year in worship on the first Sunday of Advent.  Vida Nueva sits on a hill high above Lima.  It was born in the midst of what was basically a refugee camp of people who had come to the city to escape the ravages of a civil uprising in the mountains of Peru.  This is the hill we will be walking up for worship on Sunday morning – even as we hear the words from Isaiah – “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”

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Let us pray:  Dear Lord, you crossed the boundaries of time and space when you came among us in Jesus.  As we prepare to cross boundaries and borders, we pray that you continue to surprise us with the incarnation of your love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 100

November 21, 2013

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  Psalm 100

 

My mother taught my sisters and I to be thankful.  Good manners mattered to her.  I look back at that now with the eyes of a parent and a grandparent and I realize that every interaction my sisters and I would have with others was also a sign of the effectiveness of my Mom’s parenting.  If we were well mannered and remembered to say “thank you” appropriately, people would see that we were “well raised” and that Mom was therefore a “good mother.”

 

Now you and I know that public manners can hide all sorts of ugly private stuff.  You and I know that we can smile and look someone in the eye and offer a polite “thank you” even as we think embarrassingly dark thoughts about them at the same time.  I think the name for that is “lip service.”

 

The other day on Facebook a note was being passed around about the practice of tipping servers when we go out to eat.  Someone had written on the bottom of a receipt to a female server, “I am not going to tip you because I don’t approve of your lifestyle.”  The server put a copy of the receipt on the internet and it went viral.  Suddenly other servers started sharing their experiences.

 

One wrote that the worst time to work was Sunday afternoons and the “church crowd.”  They were notoriously bad tippers.  One pastor even wrote on his bill, “I just gave God 10%, what makes you think that you deserve 18%?

 

I can’t tell you how much things like that embarrass and anger me.  But, sadly, it doesn’t really surprise me.

 

So here’s the message for this morning:  The Bible invitess us to give thanks to God which means, since all of life is a gift from God, being thankful as well for all of life.  But this is more than good manners, it is more than lip service, it is more than a public screen hiding darker private realities.  It is a reflection of God’s love – God’s love bouncing off of us and back into the world, even into the darkest places.

 

Be thankful.  And be a good tipper. 

 

Let us pray:  Thank you, Lord, for all your good gifts.  For daily bread.  For life.  For the love of family and friends.  For meaningful work.  For the invitation to walk in the fullness of life.  For the opportunities to reflect your love into the lives of others, and to see your love coming to us through others as well.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Exodus 15:1-2

November 19, 2013

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  Exodus 15:1-2

 

Expressions of praise and thanksgiving to God can be found throughout the Bible.  These verses immediately follow the destruction of the Egyptian cavalry in the Red Sea. 

 

As the story goes, the defenseless Israelites are finally putting Egypt in their rearview mirrors when they see the Egyptians coming after them.  Pharaoh, overwhelmed by the final plague of the deaths of the first born, gave the Israelites the green light to leave, but then had second thoughts so he sent the army to bring them back.

 

Facing the Red Sea, caught in the certainty of destruction in the water or destruction at the hands of the enemy, Moses pleads to God and God makes a way.  Once safely on the other side, Moses and the Israelites sing a song of praise and thanksgiving.

 

It is easy, natural, to sing songs of praise on the good end of being rescued.  The old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes follows the troops all the way home.  The least spiritual are still to include God in giving thanks upon returning home.

 

But what we know now, and what Moses didn’t know then, is that second thoughts would come to the Israelites just as they came to Pharaoh.  Hunger and thirst will do that to you.  Just a few verses later, the fleshpots of bondage in Egypt begin to look better than they actually were in the memories of the Israelites.

 

We all are prone to short memories.

 

Get us through a crisis and we’re thankful.  A few days on the other side and we begin to forget.  Our memories play tricks on us.  It wasn’t as bad as we thought it was.  We weren’t rescued, we were “resourceful.”  Thanksgiving falls away as entitlement returns.

 

How do we prevent that from happening?  I don’t know that we ever can do that perfectly or permanently but there is great wisdom in beginning every day with thanksgiving and being mindful throughout the day of the gift of life, love, and redemption.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, make us strong with all the strength that comes from your glorious power, and may we be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to you, who have enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. You have rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of your beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 69:30-36

November 18, 2013

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

For the Lord hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds.

Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.

For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall live there and possess it;

the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall live in it.

                                                                                                Psalm 69:30-36

 

I look at the calendar and I realized again that Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner.  So let’s think about thanksgiving a bit this week.

 

You would think that thanksgiving, feeling gratitude, ought to be the easiest emotion to access in the world.  Just waking up in the morning is a blessing.  Even from the vantage point of our beds, we can already see the blessings of our lives that have come to us, most of which we can claim no responsibility for. 

 

Martin Luther listed many of the daily blessings of life in the Small Catechism’s meaning of daily bread:  Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food and clothing, home and property, work and income, a devoted family, an orderly community, good government, favorable weather, peace and health, a good name, and true friends and neighbors.  It is a good list but still falls short of naming all the daily blessings of life.

 

So why does it seem so hard to live in gratitude?  To feel thankful?

 

Because naming our blessings reminds us that we aren’t in charge and we are not responsible for all the good that comes to us in our lives.  Thus, if we choose to feel resentful or depressed or misunderstood or anxious, as painful as those negative emotions feel, they allow us to live with the illusion that we are in charge.  We might feel wronged or forgotten or left out or lacking…but we still get to be the boss.

 

Because naming our blessings reminds us that every blessing comes with a responsibility attached to it.  Everything in life comes with a tag that says “Use As Intended”.  Again, ego enters the picture and suddenly a gift becomes a burden.  The failure to be grateful in our lives opens a new door where irresponsibility makes sense.

 

And sometimes, quite honestly, life is really hard.  Gratitude in the face of the difficulties of life is actually the point and a powerful source of encouragement for us.  But we can’t get there by pretending that life isn’t hard.  Even Psalm 69 includes many lines from the painful moments in Jesus’ life.  He needed to express his pain to get to thanksgiving.  Why should we be any different?

 

So today is Monday.  Thanksgiving Day is around the corner.  But giving thanks is available to us today.  Not only available but essential.

 

Let us pray:  We give you thanks, O Lord, for the blessings of our lives and the opportunity to greet today with gratitude.  May we see your face in the face of others, your hands holding all that is ours, your Spirit prompting and moving us as we enjoy and use well the blessings we have received.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Mark 1:35-39

November 15, 2013

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.  Mark 1:35-39

 

One word that comes to mind for me when I think about discipline is “routine.”  Routine is important to all of us.  It means a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.  The routines of our lives allow us to take care of the regular business of life in such a manner that we are free to play with the rest.

 

Here Mark tells us that Jesus got up very early in the morning and went off by himself to pray.  The early morning is a great time for prayer.  The simply reality is that we are all free to wake up and get up whenever we want to.  No matter what our daily responsibilities entail, we are all free to set aside time in the morning to do what we want to do.  Jesus used some of that time to pray.  Maybe this was his daily routine?

 

But then life calls and interrupts us, just as Jesus’ companions came to hunt him down.  But Jesus had his own agenda, his own God-given agenda, and Jesus was clear about what that meant for him.  Could there be a relation here, between Jesus taking time to pray, and coming out of that time clear on what his mission and purpose were?

 

I think so.

 

The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Jesus’ prayer life.  There are little snippets here and there.  We can trust that it was a very personal and intimate experience for him.  When you pray say, Abba, Father…  We can trust that he valued praying the psalms as those ancient words weren’t far from his lips as he experienced his life.  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?  And we can trust, remembering the Garden of Gethsemane, that Jesus’ prayer life dove deeply into the pain that life brought his way.

 

Is prayer part of our daily routine?

 

If it isn’t, we might ask ourselves:  Do we think we are smarter than Jesus and we can remember our purpose without checking in with God?  Are we so strong and capable that we can do life on our own power and wisdom without relying on God?  Are we so modern and informed that we no longer need the ancient prayers that have shaped the existence of the saints through the centuries?

 

Me?  Not so much.  And yet I am nowhere near as willing to simply show up for God, and for myself, as I need to be.  So this morning, it is good to take this time to pray.

 

Let us pray:  Abba, Father, loving God.  Fill us this morning with your loving purpose for our lives.  Flood us with gratitude and willingness.  Keep our minds and eyes open to the world around us today.  May we, just for today, fully rely on you to have your way with us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:11-12

November 13, 2013

My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.  Proverbs 3:11-12

 

Every Tuesday morning at our church begins with Chapel.  On one side of the sanctuary sits 50 children in our Mother’s Day Out and their teachers, on the other, 81 children from our Day School and their teachers.  Now and then a few parents might hang out just to see what happens.  And in the front of the room is our staff (both pastors, our youth/family person, our music director, and the children’s music director.)

 

As soon as Chapel is done and every kid got a hug, handshake, or high five on the way back to their classrooms, it is soon time for our staff meeting.  We spend the rest of Tuesday mornings checking in, planning, and sometimes dreaming about the future that God is creating around us.

 

We take turns telling the story at Chapel.  Yesterday was my turn.  The schedule said that I needed to teach about the Ten Commandments…to 81 children, ages five down to toddlers…  This is a challenge for me.  I think the ability to communicate well with little children is a gift that I probably don’t have.  But it was my turn so I got up in the aisle and began with the customary, “Good morning boys and girls.”

 

I looked at those children for a few brief seconds without talking.  I just looked at them.  And it occurred to me how much each of those children are loved.  How deeply, desperately, passionately, those children are loved.  How it feels to their parents when they pick them up, hold them, comfort them.  How much it hurts their parents when they fall and get the little cuts, scrapes, and boo-boo’s that are the inevitable scars of learning, growing, and dealing with life.

 

And there they were.  All entrusted to the care and keeping of a staff of a Christian congregation.  A place dedicated to living and sharing the love of God with a world that far too often seems to be mindlessly chasing idols, bent on self destruction, cold, and devoid of meaning and purpose.  Yet it is our Father’s world, his handiwork, his love.

 

My next words were, “How many of you have rules in your classrooms?”

 

It doesn’t much matter what I said next.  The only thing that matters is that I was able to see the connection between the discipline of God and the love of God.  That life isn’t nearly as complicated as we make it.  That we don’t need a manual or a consultant or a panel of experts to know how to do the next right thing.

 

We just need to know how deeply we are loved…and then to act out of that with love for others.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, your patience with us is amazing.  Your love, astounding.  Your wisdom, so close, so simple, so challenging.  We welcome your discipline for we need it.  We welcome the brick walls we run into as they redirect our steps toward life.  We are your children, guide us, and pick us up when we fall.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20

November 12, 2013

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  2 Corinthians 5:16-20

 

This past Sunday in worship we heard the story of the Sadducees questioning Jesus about the resurrection.  If a woman had seven husbands who all died, whose wife will she be in the resurrection of the dead?

 

As I wrestled with that text again throughout the week I was reminded again of how much we miss if we only understand “resurrection” to mean “whatever it is that happens long after we die.”  As if anyone of us has a clue!

 

And even if we did, what difference would seeing so clearly into the mysteries of God do for us today? 

 

Here’s what I know.  I weigh too much.  I know it is because I eat too much of the wrong foods, and I don’t exercise as much as I ought to.  I also know that my weight will very definitely – if it hasn’t already – cause me health problems and will shorten my life.  I know that is true.  Indisputable fact.  No mystery whatsoever.  Will that knowledge help me lose some weight?  Will knowing my future inevitably cause me to change my daily habits and rituals for the better?

 

Well…it hasn’t so far.  But today is a new day.  I have my gym stuff with me.  No one else will put food in my mouth today.  I have all the knowledge I need – what I don’t have is the power to do what is best.  For that, at least for me, I need God.

 

And I don’t just need God, I need to call upon God, rely upon God, and act as I sense God is leading me.  I don’t need information, and I don’t need reassurance that God still loves me – I know that – what I need is resurrection.  I need the willingness to let God do in and through me what only God can do.  Not by magic but by action.

 

So it is with all that matters in life.  Information is helpful but we need so much more.  God is in charge of whatever it is that happens after we die.  I trust that it will be good because I trust in God’s saving love.  But that is far beyond my control, it is veiled in mystery.  What is not veiled in mystery is the reality that God has given us the gift of this day, to do with it what we will.

 

We can choose today how we will live.  Will we live in denial of reality, hoping for magic, ignoring our own needs or the needs of the world around us?  Or will we see ourselves as we truly are – children of God, new creations in Christ, raised again today to new possibilities of life with the God-given power of resurrection reality?

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, today is a gift.  Today is all the life we have to live.  Give us the power to do what you would have us do, and the willingness to follow as you lead the way, for in you we are a new creation, resurrection is our hope, and your doing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.