Wednesday – February 10, 2021
Some seeds fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
A Word of Hope
For those who put their faith in God, all things are possible. Faith is trusting in, hoping in, and believing in an outcome. It is like planting a seed. If you plant a seed in good soil, then it will grow. Conversely, if you plant a seed on a pile of rocks, then it will shrivel up and die. The love of God is good soil, but the riches of this world are merely stones by comparison.
A woman will devote herself to what she has faith in, and just as her journey will follow the direction of her thoughts, she will rise or fall according the quality of her meditations. When a woman cares for God, God cares for her. Conversely, when a woman cares for the world, it is the world which cares for her.
It is not wise to invest in a temporary thing, for once it has passed away, so too does the source of one’s income go away. God is eternal and the flame of God’s love never diminishes over time. This world is a temporary thing; we cannot stay here forever.
To follow God is to invest towards a guaranteed future; the world can only offer temporary pleasures. God made the world and all its pleasures; so then, do not measure the grain above the farmer. We trust that God can do anything, even raise the dead; therefore, our faith should be in the One who can assure us a good life.
Every tree was once a seed. Every achievement was once a dream. If a farmer neglects to water his seed, then he does not expect a harvest. Likewise, if a person does not feed their faith by continually seeking the path, then they will never find it. Choose the land in which you plant your seed carefully, for it will mean either life or death for the seed. God never fails, and those who put their faith in God are never disappointed.
By our faith in You, we rise. When we are attacked, our faith defends us. When we are hurt, our faith heals us. When we are brought low, our faith lifts us up. Protect our faith. Never let the flame diminish but fan our flames until they are an all-consuming fire. We put our faith in You, and we know that You are true. Bless You now and forevermore. Amen.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Tuesday – February 9, 2021
The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders to be done through them. But the residents of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to maltreat them and to stone them, the apostles learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they continued proclaiming the good news.
Word of Hope
There is something about this passage that I had to think about. When I first read it, I thought there was something strange in it; but I couldn’t quite figure out what that was. Then, after several readings it hit me. Paul and Barnabas went into the synagogue and spoke to Jews and Greeks! It was not just Jews in the synagogue but Greeks, too. Even though they are together in one place, it is the people, not the building.
Then it says unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles against the brothers who were run out of town.
What happened? Jews and Greeks in the synagogue give way to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. I know these are not the same groups. But the association is clear. Jews and Greeks are in the synagogue together. The synagogue is a place of learning, worship, faith. The implication is that the Greeks are essentially Jewish, if not by birth at least by belief. And a great number of these became believers in what Paul and Barnabas are speaking.
But the non-believing Jews and the non-believing Greeks (now called Gentiles) along with their ruling classes stir up trouble. This is not new. The same thing happened to Jesus.
Herein is another difference. Jesus was crucified; Paul and Barnabas leave before they are stoned to death.
This is not to say Paul and Barnabas were cowards. But Jesus had fulfilled all the obligations of physical death. Paul and Barnabas had experienced the death to self that comes from being a believer. They have spoken, done what they can, and moving on. Their purpose is to spread the Word. Just as it has for them, as it has in Jerusalem, as it will be, the Word spreads.
It is the people who make up the church. And as time goes by and believers find themselves hiding in Roman catacombs, dying in coliseums, burned at the stake; their faith in the power of the Word will endure in those who come after them.
Dearest God, may we live as the Jews and Greeks of Iconium of old. Help us to be the church so we can be a witness of peace and truth to all.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clar
Monday – February 8, 2021
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Word of Hope
NATIONAL BOY SCOUTS DAY
February 8th annually recognizes National Boys Scouts Day. Since 1910, boys across America have been doing good deeds, learning survival skills and developing moral foundations through the Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts of America has roots in the British Boy Scouts organization which was created in 1908 after the success of the book, Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell. On a foggy day in London an American newspaperman, William Dickson Boyce, became lost when a Boy Scout came to his assistance. With the boy’s guidance, Boyce arrived at his destination. When Boyce offered payment for the assistance, the Boy Scout refused explaining it was a good deed.
Boyce was inspired to organize similar youth groups into one organization. On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed papers of incorporation, and the Boy Scouts of America was born. Boy Scouts have had a profound impact on the United States. Many presidents and other dignitaries have been Boy Scouts. A total of 181 Astronauts have also been a part of the Boy Scout program.” The idea of good deeds isn’t limited to the Boy Scouts. But remembering to do good deeds is helped by the image they created. As Christians we should remember to be always kind to our fellow humans. However, we need reminders when we get too busy and too caught up in our own troubles of life. Our pastors and staff model for us the ways of Christ. How to do unto others. They guide us to reach out to the lonely with calls and cards during this isolated time as well as physical things to help. During Covid at CoH we have first learned how to provide church at home for our church family and children. Then they led us to collect Thank You bags for the essential workers at Parkland Hospital Covid care unit. They even sent cards to church members assuring us of their continuing prayers for us. We continued our efforts to feed the hungry through our Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope (BACH) and iCare and Meals of Hope.
What can you do to honor the best in all of us in this worst of times? In honor of Boy Scouts’ good deeds and following the way of Christ, find someone you can help by phone calls or by donating to the food pantry. You can do that on the last Sunday of each month when we drive through Cathedral of Hope and drop off items needed to hand out on Mondays. The Thursday CoH newsletter has the list of needed items. Whatever you do, figure out something you can do for others. It will make their day better and in turn make yours better as well. In February I always encourage everyone to pick up a few extra valentines and send them to people who need to be reminded that God loves them and so do you. This year that may be more important than ever before!
God of all good deeds. Teach us to remember those in need of our care and concern in these lonely times. Help us remember to help those in need of food, other things or personal contact. Thank you for all your many gifts to us each day.
Friday – February 5, 2021
1 Corinthians 9:16 (The Message)
If I proclaim the Message, it’s not to get something out of it for myself. I’m compelled to do it and doomed if I don’t!
A Word of Hope
Paul the Apostle found himself in a prickly situation with the early Christian Church in Corinth as recounted in today’s assigned reading 1 Corinthians 9: 1 -16. If you have ever awkwardly asked your boss for a raise you will understand the fix Paul was in. He had to ask the church to pay him even a small salary – he was working for free!
With sweaty palms but a steely tone Paul had all his arguments memorized. He worked hard, he got results, he was unequally treated. After all, even the gardener gets to eat the vegetables he grows. It is a compelling case.
But it must have been the artful lawyer in him because Paul, after laying out a logical argument, turned the entire discussion inside out and upside down: “Go ahead, don’t pay me, I’ll work for nothing. I don’t do it for the money anyway, I do it because I am compelled. The love of Jesus, the vision of inclusion, equality, justice, and mercy make it impossible for me not to do this work.”
Paul’s priorities were clear. Even more important than making a living was changing the world into the vision Jesus had shown him on the road to Damascus. No matter the consequences, he could do nothing else.
Don’t worry, I am not suggesting we all work for free. (Our pastors just heaved a sigh of relief.) However, over the months of this pandemic I have been forced to rethink some priorities. Indeed, what am I willing to give up to create a better world? Would I give up my salary? Too big an ask? What am I willing to give up to create a better city, a better neighborhood? A better church? A better relationship with those close to me? What would I give up to recreate Jesus’ vision in even a small way?
Fortunately, I don’t have to give up my salary to make a difference. But I do have to reprioritize a few things. Maybe give up some things I really like. I don’t expect Paul to feel sorry for me.
God of my being. Remind me today of my priorities.
Thursday – February 4, 2021
So hope for a great sea- change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.
And cures and healing wells
Call miracle self-healing,
The utter self revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
And lightening and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
A Word of Hope
They started in the morning—at first just glistening on eyelashes, then, heavy, dropping onto cheeks. Before long, it was a stream of cleansing and release. As texts darted back and forth from friends, we all confessed to tears—some intermittent, some chest-heaving sobs.
Only a few weeks before, we had watched as insurrectionists broke through barriers to lay siege to the nation’s Capitol—some flaunting symbols of white supremacy and anti-semitism, others waving confederate flags. The stars and stripes, no longer proudly hailed, became a weapon to beat a policeman. Talk of assassinating members of Congress and using ropes on officers who provided protection, as well as images of the pack hunting down their prey—was frightening, even traumatizing for those who watched, with its evocation of racist mobs.
But on inauguration day, when the peaceful transfer of power was completed, the tears came. They loosened the protective barriers—erected consciously and unconsciously—for years of onslaughts to dignity, equality, virtue, and faith. They poured out the hearts’ yearning for decency and empathy for others. They fell for renewed promise because that day showed us just enough of what the future can be—”that justice can rise up/ and hope and history rhyme.”
Christ Jesus, you weep in us and through us—for all the suffering and dying, for all the injustice and oppression, for all the release and hope. May the miracles of grace break over us like sea-swells and renew us for all the work that is ours to do. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)