Daily Devotion Monday, July 24, 2017
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who hold fast to the faith of Jesus. Hear the voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”
Revelation 14: 12-13 (paraphrased)
A Word of Hope: The Call to Endurance
These days could be the death of our hope, our energy and indeed our faith. The senseless death of our dear friend and saint, Lee Covington. The emboldened voices of hate here in Texas and around the world. The growing greed of the wealthy. Perhaps you’ve experienced other deaths – literal or figurative - in these days as well. These days could be the death of our hope, our energy and indeed our faith. The senseless death of our dear friend and saint, Lee Covington. The emboldened voices of hate here in Texas and around the world. The growing greed of the wealthy. Perhaps you’ve experienced other deaths – literal or figurative - in these days as well.
In these verses, the Holy Spirit calls us saints to endurance. But the call is strange one. “Blessed are the dead.” It would be better if the Spirit told us God will fix all these deaths. But God seldom fixes things. Instead, She invites us to grow in love and hope as we experience deaths of all kinds. Her invitation comes enveloped in mystery instead of the mastery that we think God should use. Why?
God uses mystery (or call it paradox) to convey God’s truth. Parker Palmer gives the example of breathing in and breathing out. He writes “It would be really dangerous for me to say, ‘I think I’m basically a breathing-out kind of guy, so that’s what I’m going to devote my life to.’” No. Breathing is a “both and” experience rather than an “either or” one. In the same way our dazzling and demoralizing lives bring both birth and death. Both grace and separation from God. Both bitter disappointments and stupefying miracles. The Holy Spirit calls us to hold the tension of “both and.” Keep our hearts and minds open to the mystery of experiencing both loss and gift all mixed together. Hold the tension in our prayer by staying with the hurt of loss but always watching for the gift.
In this way, God’s truth grows love and hope in us saints. These in turn nudge us to action along God’s path. So the Holy Spirit is calling us today to God-given endurance that is birthed by embracing God’s truth and blossoms in love and hope.
Beloved saints, breathe in and breathe out. May we hold fast to our faith today!