Words of Hope
Words of Hope
Friday – May 20, 2022
Acts 16: 1-8
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
Words of Hope
In today’s Scripture reading, we see Paul enlisting the help of Timothy to join him on his second missionary journey. They delivered the Apostles’ letter from the Jerusalem conference to Saints in Phyrgia and Galatia. The Holy Spirit directed Paul and his companions to bring the gospel to Macedonia. Throughout this text, we learn how to discern what God wants us to do through the work of the Holy Spirit.
First, we seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit; this according to Acts is best done in community as in, ‘when they were all in one place.’
Second, is to focus on the work of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit directs Paul and Timothy to be among the people in order to do the work they have been called to do.
Third, one must nurture their spirit to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Scripture shows us this is done through community, study of the word, and counsel from our elders.
Fourth, the Spirit equips us. Each of us are given various spiritual gifts to enhance the kingdom of God. One could also say the Holy Spirit equips us with a passion. As a pastor once said to me, “What makes your heart happy is where your passion resides.” These are words that I have been reflecting on a lot lately.
Another thing we learn is the importance of receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we serve God. God is still speaking to us every day, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the redeeming presence of Jesus are there to change and motivate our lives. Are we listening?
Dear God, we give you thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. For the ways you used Paul and Timothy to teach us more about the ways you speak to us every day. Give us the courage to listen faithfully to you and courageously respond. Amen.
Thursday – May 19, 2022
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Words of Hope
One of my favorite sayings is “I’ll be patient if you’ll just hurry!” I can be patient in critical times and then easily turn impatient in a most mundane situation. Traffic, waiting for seeming hours to talk to a real person because the computer voice keeps promising it can help me. “No, you cannot “I often yell into the phone! Eventually I take a deep breath, laugh at myself, and acknowledge the computer doesn’t care.
In this ever changing, fast past world, we can access instant food, apps, and packages dropped to us overnight. No wonder it’s hard to be “in waiting”. Even our TV selections are titled “on Demand” and we wonder why our patience is taking a back seat.
Sarah and Abraham became impatient with Gods promise they would have a son, so he slept with the maid Hagar, had a son and that turned out bad for everyone involved.
When Moses went up the mountain to receive word from God, the folks became impatient and asked Aaron to build a golden calf to worship. That didn’t work out well either. Obviously, since impatience is addressed in the Bible way before our time, God knew we would need help, even after being promised a new nature through Christ.
Babies in their ability to go from perfectly calm to screaming for attention are reminders we are not born with patience. It something we acquire.
Countless times I’ve impatiently chosen to take matters into my own hands, only to be met with a very patient God who is always there when I fall. When we surrender unconditionally, God, with no questions asked will dusts us off, kiss our cheeks and guide us along the way.
So, the chief weapon against impatience is turning to the word of God. God gives us the ability to be patient and shows us what patience looks like so we will share that gift with others.
God as we continue to practice patience, let this gift grow so other lives can be blessed through us. In Jesus name…Amen
Wednesday – May 18, 2022
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Words of Hope
Years ago when I first saw Mr. Rogers Neighborhood I was a cynical teenager. I saw Fred Rogers as sappy and juvenile. I didn’t understand then that his show was not meant for a 19 year old just starting college. Years later I took time to watch a couple of episodes since I ended up working for a while in children’s television.
It was then that I saw the genius of Fred Rogers. He related to children on their level, without talking down to them or trying to “entertain” them. He was there just to be their friend and help them understand the world that was changing around them. By doing that, he was truly their neighbor. Fred treated his audience with respect and love and gave them what they needed to thrive.
Sometimes our neighbor may not be the same as us, in their appearance, status or age, but they are all worthy of our love and respect and most of all they are worthy of our mercy.
May we show mercy to all our neighbors whether they live near us or just cross our paths. May we remember the grace given to us by God and pass that on to all we meet. Won’t you be my neighbor?
Tuesday – May 17, 2022
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
Words of Hope
On this day in 2004, a lesbian couple in their 50’s became the first legally married same-sex partners in the United States. For this reason, today is recognized as Same-sex Marriage Day. Though Massachusetts ruled that prohibiting the right to a civil marriage to be unconstitutional in 2003, it took twelve more years for the Supreme Court of the United States to follow and acknowledge the right to a legal civil union for same-sex couples across this country. For those of us that are progressive Christians, sadly many of those who fought against these rights (and continue to do so) invoke the name of Jesus in in their arguments.
As Christians, we turn to Jesus as an example of how to live. So, what examples does Jesus give us for marriage – heterosexual or same-sex? None. We have no record of Jesus’s life between age thirteen and twenty-nine, the period of life when a young Jewish man would likely have married. Scholarship does not agree on whether or not Jesus was indeed married. Given this scenario, if who one marries is so important, why does Jesus not give us better guidance? Perhaps who one marries is not important to Jesus. Maybe Jesus is truly concerned with our ability to open our hearts and love fully no matter our own or our partner’s sexual identity. Maybe it was Jesus who is responsible for the now popular “Love Is Love” phrase.
As with much of scripture, the words of the above Emily Dickinson poem have been interpreted many different ways. Yes, it is about hope. But is it generic hope? Probably not. Emily Dickinson was in love with the woman who eventually became her sister-in-law. Though she knew their relationship could never be, Emily clung to and survived on hope…and deep love for Susan. She wrote these words in a letter to her lover:
“Come with me this morning to the church within our hearts, where the bells are always ringing, and the preacher whose name is Love — shall intercede for us!”
How interesting that Emily Dickinson chose to use the metaphor of the church as she pleads for her lover to join her. And yet, “the church” has been the loudest opponent to such love.
We speak of the power of God’s love, a love that, as humans, we do not have the capacity to fully comprehend. My hope is for a world that can simply acknowledge this, our human limitation, and truly live into the prayer “God’s will be done.”
God of love, I pray that I will never underestimate the power of your love and the ways that it is manifested in my heart, my life, and my world. Amen
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Monday – May 16, 2022
Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” So, Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.
Words of Hope
God is trustworthy
The Prophet and Judge, Deborah, was one of the most trusting leaders in the Bible. She spoke resolutely in her instructions to her General, Barak, counting on God’s faithfulness and loving care to save her people from their enemies led by the ruthless Sisera. She knew God would be in control of an army of faith.
Early civilizations had learned that there were many things which existed beyond their control. Their relationship with a Higher Spirit was fear-based and life centered on appeasing it in order to preserve human existence. Generally, they were blessed with adequate animals to hunt and wild plants to eat. However, from time to time, their assurance of God’s care was shaken by the daytime darkness of a solar eclipse or the ravages of a spreading pandemic.
It seemed that God was not always constantly blessing them. Could God be counted on to provide loving care? Hundreds of centuries later, even today, people still wonder if God will be resolute and steadily provide for their needs. Yet, those same doubters count on the sun to rise in the east each morning, seasonal changes to occur, and oxygen to be provided for their next breath.
If we know anything about God, it must be God’s unchanging nature. Resolutely, God remains firm in purpose to love us and offer nurturing relationship to each individual. God is absolutely trustworthy! God loves us. Like the wise Prophet Deborah, you can take that promise to the bank any day, even on days that don’t seem to go your way.
Lord God, as I meditate and better realize your majesty, I am humbled that you love me and want a deeper relationship with me. It is my prayer that today I will be more mindful of your unlimited nature. And in the mystery of this, may I worship you with my words and my full life. Amen.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)