Thursday – November 12, 2020
Happy are those who keep (observe) God’s decrees, who seek God’s will with all their heart.”
The Word of Divine Guidance
I remember as a young Baptist boy in Sunday school, we would be given a folded pamphlet which was titled, Read Through the Bible in One Year. The entire Bible was divided into 365 readings of 1, 2 or 3 chapters to be read each day. We would begin with great enthusiasm, but later in the Psalms, we would run into chapter 119. To a little boy, it became a real challenge to read all 176 verses! In following years, I dreaded when that particular night’s reading approached… quite a lot on a little boy’s plate of to-do’s. However, there is a lot of wisdom stored in that chapter. This week’s reflective readings will pull from that long chapter several noteworthy verses which warrant our consideration and plea for divine guidance.
An individual who claims to be in relationship with God can’t be happy or content with their lifestyle if they do not live in harmony with God’s desires for them. Two people cannot walk together if one disagrees and takes a different and opposite pathway! Yet, that is how some Christians try to live their lives. To them “Sunday rules” apply sometimes, but rarely if it requires real effort or a break from the lifestyle of their friends and associates.
This verse reminds us that happiness (inner peace) comes from a stable relationship with God in which the individual keeps (observes) the divine principles for a right lifestyle (righteous). That lifestyle is always in harmony with the wishes of God. Two people, who seem to be walking together but argue about which pathway to take, cannot walk in joyful harmony and peace. We must seek to learn God’s choice… and seek to hear God’s voice, if we hope to walk through life in-step with the desires of God.
O God, I seek your desires for my life, and I offer to you my praise for gifting me with your words of guidance and hope. As I study and apply them, I know they will give light to the path of righteous living and allow me to be in harmony with you. In the light of your guiding words, may I always walk in lock-step with you. For you are my joy and peace divine. Amen.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Wednesday – November 11, 2020
God will give to each person according to what they have done.
Word of Hope
I love uplifting stories, especially when it involves children leading the way. And so often, in their sweet innocence, they see things so clearly and lead us to things we should see.
I saw the following story on Facebook that shows us how God not only answers our prayers, but uses us and precious children to show others the way:
“Last week, I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.
As we bowed our heads he said, ‘God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!’
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, ‘…That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!’
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, ‘Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?’
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, ‘I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.’
Really?’ my son asked. ‘Cross my heart,’ the man replied. Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), ‘Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.’
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman.
With a big smile he told her, ‘Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already.’
I love this story! I hope God sends you some Ice Cream today!!!” I hope God sends you ice cream or whatever your soul needs today. I hope God continues to open the eyes and hearts of children to see those who need a blessing!
May God give you a childlike faith that allows you to see those around you who need an extra blessing that you can give!
Please purchase a Thanksgiving dinner basket for those in need this year. If your budget does not allow that, bring a jar of peanut butter or a can of Spam to be given out at iCare on Mondays. This year we have more people out of work than ever before. We have to all chip in to help those in need. You and I who still have an income are responsible to reach out to our neighbors in need however we can.
God of ice cream and Thanksgiving baskets and giver of all gifts; help us to be givers of good to our neighbors as you have been a giver to us.
Tuesday – November 10, 2020
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep. ’For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. ’So, the Levites stilled all the people, saying, ‘Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved. ’And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Word of Hope
Although this passage pertains to a specific day, I think applying it to most days makes a great deal of sense. It goes a bit farther than “this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” While being told to rejoice, eat the best, drink sweet wine; they are also enjoined to send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared.
As we approach Thanksgiving, a day many of us send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared, and thankfully Cathedral of Hope has ministries for people for whom nothing is prepared, it is important to pause and remember the words above given by the Levites: “Be quiet, for this day is holy”. How often we do not silence ourselves from our daily doings to remember that this day is holy. How often when we are preparing something for others do we forget to rejoice.
Today, every day, remember this day is holy. The Lord has provided abundantly for many, hopefully from you. Rejoice in that and remember to send a portion to those for whom none has been prepared. If a portion is sent to you, rejoice that you are blessed too.
God of Joy help me rejoice in each day. While I enjoy the blessings you have given me; bless those for whom nothing is prepared and prepare me to send a portion to them so that we may rejoice together.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare.
Monday – November 9, 2020
1 Cor 14.20-25 The Message
To be perfectly frank, I’m getting exasperated with your infantile thinking. How long before you grow up and use your head—your adult head? It’s all right to have a childlike unfamiliarity with evil; a simple no is all that’s needed there. But there’s far more to saying yes to something. Only mature and well-exercised intelligence can save you from falling into gullibility.
A Word of Hope
Eugene Peterson, whose modern-language Greek Scripture lesson is quoted above, did not consider his version of the Bible to be a paraphrase, but a translation. He often referred to himself as a “servant of the text” and I agree with that assessment. I can easily picture the Apostle Paul, frustrated by the fundamentalist and legalistic thinkers of his era, saying, “Grow up and use your head…your adult head!”
We are surrounded these days by people who persist in nurturing a childlike unfamiliarity with evil, people who are simply too comfortable with the familiar to consider the consequences of accepting a corrupt status quo. They would rather embrace it than take the responsibility for actually thinking for themselves and saying yes to exploring positive and healthy alternatives.
Fear of change and thinking outside of the narrow confines of fundamentalist theology spills over into all aspect of our lives if we don’t even attempt to use our adult heads. Individual lives have been ruined and families irreparably split because of our gullibility to belief systems that reject science and loudly proclaim they have all the answers. They cut us off from ever knowing the incredible yet wonderful aspects of God.
Today is Carl Sagan Day celebrating the famed astronomer, author, and science communicator. Many people still flatly define him as an atheist, but Carl Sagan, the poet, reveals to us that he explored worlds far beyond planetary systems. Here are some of his thoughts:
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
May we be open to thinking with our adult heads today.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – November 6, 2020
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
Galatians 6:5 (The Message)
People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead.” James Baldwin
A Word of Hope
I am writing these words one week to the day before our election. You will be reading them 3 days after. It is possible the results are not yet known and are being contested. I can’t predict what you or I will be feeling right now. Perhaps hope and optimism. Perhaps dread and despair. Maybe a mixture. It is likely that no matter what we are feeling we know someone who is feeling the opposite. Such is the nature of our polarized society these days.
But regardless of the situations we now face we each must own up to our responsibilities going forward. The election may have made that work easier or more difficult. Either way, much is expected of us. Much work is to be done to reconcile with our neighbors, our friends and our families. Healing must begin.
Especially now our actions can make a difference. People watch our living day in and day out. As the Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coeho said “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
Again, I don’t know where you find yourself today. And I don’t know where I will be. But I do know our lives can make a difference for good. Let’s get to work.
God of my being. May I experience and share healing and reconciliation today.
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