Tuesday – June 30, 2020
Words of Hope
What is in a Seed?
Do you know how much good comes from one single righteous seed? To answer this question, first, we must consider Adam. When Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit, he immediately received the sentence of death within himself. What was once immortal and perfect became mortal and corrupt. Not only that, but his seed was cursed with the same death sentence. If by one man’s act of disobedience death entered the world, how much more was life given by the single righteous act of obedience by Christ? In truth, the sacrifice of Jesus is still saving lives to this day offering hope to a world that often feels hopeless.
From Adam’s seed of disobedience, the whole world bared the weight of generations each more wicked than the last. So much evil covered the face of the world that God brought the waters out of the depths of the Earth and the storehouses of Heaven to rid the world of the evil. The Earth was washed clean, except for Noah and his family. Now, we observe the children, or the seed of Cain, who murdered his brother out of jealousy, covering the face of the Earth. Many generations have passed since Cain’s act of disobedience towards God’s law, and the Earth weeps for the countless acts of evil she sees every day.
Although it is hard to see the forest from the trees, a single act of kindness is more powerful than all the evil acts the world has ever known combined. Is not light more powerful than darkness? A little light shining never becomes dark in darkness, but the darkness becomes light. If a smile, small and modest, can become someone else’s smile when seen, what can be said about a thousand smiles? If one smile can become a thousand smiles, how much good comes from all the acts of kindness the world has ever known? The answer is that we cannot imagine the outcome or know the full effect of the seed until it is time for harvest. The time will come to everyone when we will reap what we sow, whether our seeds be of good or evil. Be encouraged, because a righteous seed bears much fruit.
Dearest Father who is loving and gentle,
Do not let us give up on small acts of kindness. Sometimes, it feels as though it is all for nothing. We are unappreciated and often unseen, yet You appreciate us and see us. You reward our efforts with life everlasting. Bless You Lord, for Your kindness and Your reward.
Monday – June 29, 2020
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Now concerning brotherly love, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
Words of Hope
Most of my life I have worked for myself, that is I have either been a freelancer or owned my own company. Yes, I had stints working for others and even a couple of large corporations, but my most productive and happiest times were when I was making my own way.
Yet, even in those times when I was working on my own, I had collaborators. I had business partners, creative partners and associates. Together we did some great work. I always looked at my business partners as though they were my brothers. Our fortunes rose and fell together and we shared equally in the failures and successes. We loved each other like brothers.
I believe this is what Paul is asking of the early Christians at Thessalonica. He urges them to love each other as brothers, to work together to build their community. He urges them to be self-sufficient and industrious. It is something that doesn’t sound very theological, but practical. It seems more mundane than sacred. Sometimes doing practical things is a sacred act.
Putting food on the table by the work of our hands can be thought of as a sacrament every bit as much as any other. Sometimes serving ourselves can be a holy act, feeding our bodies is necessary before we can feed our souls. It brings a dignity to our lives and makes us grateful for the gifts God has given us that we use in the process.
God, thank you for the work you set before me that I might sustain myself and my brothers as we do your will in the world.
Cathedral of Hope
Friday – June 26, 2020
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me; for it is in you that my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.”
Words of Hope
The above Psalm, like so many, have been attributed to David, the shepherd boy who became king. This particular verse references the time when the Israelite King Saul was hunting to kill the young warrior David who had sought refuge and hid in a distant cave. Like David’s world, sometimes the world around us may be turned upside down with dangerous threats and loss. We need a sure and safe refuge to anchor our lives and quiet the worries of our heart. The world may offer potential solutions or mind-numbing options, but David models for us the best solution for these moments of crisis… turn to God’s loving care. You may hide under the protection of God wings and still get scratches and a nosebleed, but you won’t end up mortally wounded!
Consider, too, David’s reaction to an incident in his life recorded in I Chronicles 16:8-9: “Give thanks to the Lord, call on God’s name, make God deeds known among the people. Sing, sing praises to God.” After King David fought the Philistines and recaptured the Ark of the Covenant, he brought it safely back to Israelite territory and ordered celebrations. This verse begins a hymn of praise to God. Since then many official statements and hymns have been composed to praise and thank God. But, what about your personal life experience? Is it filled with genuine thanksgiving to the Creator God? Each of us receives more blessings per hour than we can count. Do words of gratitude flow off your tongue giving thanks and praise to our Lord? Praising God’s nature and love is the basis of our spiritual life. From ancient rabbinic literature it is said: “In the world to come, all sacrifice [and offering] will cease, but the sacrifice of thanksgiving will remain forever; equally, all confessional statements will cease, but the confession of our thanksgiving to God will remain forever.”
Let it be so in our lives. May our days be filled with an acute awareness of God’s blessings and may we experience a closer walk with the Divine One.
Lord God, as I journey through daily activities, may the multitude of these divinely inspired words help me to focus on your desires for my life. Keep me safe and on the right path with you. Amen
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Thursday – June 25, 2020
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for God has been good to me.
A Word of Hope
These are frustrating times. We are frustrated with the chaotic political scene, the pandemic that is re-writing our history, frustrated with each other, and sometimes even with God. How do we handle these disheartening feelings? Today’s scripture reading provides some considerations that could easily be our own. No writers of the Bible were as brutally honest with their raw emotions as were the writers of the Psalms, especially concerning their attitudes toward God. The writer, perhaps David, of Psalm 13, expresses a candor that reflects so many of our thoughts these days, giving voice to our broodings or maybe even to our prayers.
David covered our situations quite well: Have we been abandoned, forgotten, will our negative thoughts ever stop plaguing us, is there no end to the sorrows that surround us, will the bad guys forever claim the victories? Will we ever find our way, finally see the light, or forever be condemned to witnessing the triumph of this indiscriminate disease and these dispassionate leaders?
I believe the reason so many of the Psalms are attributed to David is that the inexperienced shepherd boy turned reluctant general turned dauntless but blemished king had, like no other, experienced the full variety of human challenges, yet never lost his faith. Did he question it? Many times! Did he abandon it? Never! The conclusion of this Psalm of anguish is one of the most optimistic in Scripture.
In the end, David was able to say God’s love of him was now and had always been unfailing. His simple shepherd’s heart could not confine the joys he had experienced in God’s salvation throughout one seemingly impossible situation after another. His praise could not be contained. He had to sing it out! He had been nurtured, guided, forgiven and loved through agonies that the modern reader could never imagine. Yet, because of his faith, his sorrows had been replaced by joys. In the end, David could summarize all of it with honesty and assurance: “God has been good to me.”
Teach us to walk the walk of David moment by moment, day by day. When the time at last comes for us to look back and assess these frustrating times, may each of us assuredly say, “God has been good to me.”
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Wednesday – June 24, 2020
1 Corinthians 13. 11-13
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
A Word of Hope
Love has always been many gifts, but what is a gift that is not given? Unless the gift is given it can never become what it was meant to be. One does not smile from the inside, but it stretches across the lips from cheek to cheek for all to see. When we smile at others, we give a gift that comes from the heart. Then, once that gift is received by another, her love grows and responds with a smile of her very own. She will have then learned to smile, and not only that, but will find someone new to give her smile to.
Today, there are many smiles all around the world all because God first smiled at us when God created us. God created us as someone to give the divine love to; The Creator wanted to show that eternal smile to the creation. The love of God gives life, otherwise, why would God have ever given the gift? Love hurts sometimes, and we all hurt sometimes. A baby cries when she wants to be held. Once the baby is in the arms of her mother, however, she stops crying because she craved love. As the baby lives off of the mother’s milk, so too does she need love from the one who created her.
Milk is for the body, but love, is for the spirit. Jesus said, “Humankind shall not live off of bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” The “word” that Jesus spoke of is, in essence, the love of God. Without love, God’s words would be soundless, unheard, and of no effect. If God made Humankind because God wanted to give us a gift, then we, by nature, were meant to receive that gift. My Earthly father taught me that love is not love unless it is given because love has always been, and always will be, an expression of the heart.
Bless You Lord for Your precious love. You smiled at us, and now, we smile too. Protect these hearts that learned how to smile so that we, in kind, can give it back. Thank You for showing us the way. You have so much love for us, but it is not always understood. Help us to understand Your great love towards us. Show us how to love others as You have loved us. Amen.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)