Monday – July 12, 2021
2 Corinthians 10.12
For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
A Word of Hope
An ant is small to a spider, but the spider is small to the bird. The bird is small to the cat, but the cat is small to the human. The human is small to the elephant, but the elephant is small to the whale. What is big and what is small? Ten dollars is a lot for one who has only pennies, but ten dollars is little for one who has hundreds of dollars. The one with thousands of dollars does not consider a hundred dollars as having much and the one with millions of dollars considers thousands of dollars to be little. Someone with a million dollars believes that they have much while someone with a billion dollars believes the same. What is having little and what is having much?
The reason that we are never satisfied is because we feel small when we are in fact big, and we think that we are poor when we are in fact rich. We believe that comparisons follow some logic; that we can identify what makes a thing similar or different from another thing. However, the view changes the further one gets up the mountain. The scenery changes from when one is looking out of their window to when one is standing outside. How we see the world changes from when we are young to when we are old. Yet even though everything in our universe is constantly changing, we try to simplify what cannot be simplified.
By looking we think we can see, by asking we think we can know, but we cannot determine by looking or asking and discover what is big and what is much. There is always something bigger and there is always something smaller. Less and more change depending on the count. In reality, true humility does not need to ask or look to know that she is equal to her brother. We may not be the same, but we are equally priceless in God’s eyes.
Therefore, do not seek to gain an advantage by comparing yourself to another, and never think that you have fallen short.
Spirit of divine love,
Teach us how to accept ourselves and others. Help us to appreciate and to not be tempted to evaluate. Put us on the path to humility. Bless You for the opportunity to change how we view things and let this change lead us to wisdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – July 9, 2021
Psalm 24. 1
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it…
Words of Hope
Every time I hear of a church singling out an individual or group to exclude, I am reminded of the opening passage to the 24th Psalm. Attributed to King David, these words assure us that everything and everyone in the world belongs to God.
That’s a pretty definite pronouncement.
“All that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.”
If David is to be believed that means if we try to exclude anyone, we are trying to exclude one of God’s own. That would be a very audacious thing to do.
Maybe it would be better to embrace all things and all people as God’s own and use that knowledge to better live, in harmony with each other.
Yes, there will be people who offend us, and harm us and act as though they are anything but a child of God, but that’s what grace is for. If we believe God’s grace extends to everyone and everyone is a child of God, then we can deal with them in a way that honors that. That doesn’t mean we have to accept unacceptable behavior, but it does mean we must respect each individual as one of God’s creations. That means treating them with equanimity and seeking justice rather than retribution and offering forgiveness whenever possible.
Is it easy? Not always, but in the end, living as though we are all God’s children is a path that is far more rewarding.
May we remember that each of us belongs to God, and each of us is born with the gift of grace.
Thursday – July 8, 2021
Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation.
A Word of Hope
Are you ready to experience something awesome? Whether we rest our trembling soul in God’s embrace, or we walk with confidence in God’s path; in all things and in all times of life, we can experience new and wonderful revelations of divine care and love. They are like jewels along our path. All that we must do is maintain awareness of God’s presence in our every step.
Don’t be distracted by the noise and confusion of the world around you. Focus your attention on God who will lead you forward and free you from fear of the uncertainty of the unknown. That’s the root of the word “salvation” as used in this verse. God is the One who frees you to live your full potential as a human directed by divine love. God frees you to live and see awesome things every day of your life!
What awesome things are you inspired to do today? Often, we think about matters of social justice as inequality of opportunity, education and income among various groups or races of people. Hence, we set out to change the structure of society to better fit its needs. Although emphasis can be on change of policies toward better practices, as Christians we should seek to become involved in God’s concept of justice which has its foundation in the existence of harmony among all humans.
The word “harmony” is derived from the concept of things “fitting together, joining in good order”. God’s desire is that human society will participate in a “seamless process” of receiving: giving and caring for: sharing so that everyone experiences the full blessings of God’s magnificence. As we give a cup of cold water to those weakened by thirst, we should “fit” their other hand into our loving hands of help.
We should join not only our self but also our resources in harmony with their needs to bring them peace and relief. Harmony is more than “just getting along with others”. That’s cheap harmony… cheap social justice. We Christians are called to practice divine-style harmony/justice which results when we interact with all others and share ourselves in peace, love, humility and the full blessings of God. In doing this, we can each truly be one of God’s awesome things!
Lord God, quiet my mind and sharpen my attention to your Spirit’s presence in my life. It is my desire to live this day in closer relationship with you and to express your love in each of my interactions with other people. Be it ever so. Amen.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Wednesday – July 7, 2021
John 7. 1-9
Jesus was staying in Galilee. He did not wish to go to Judea because the Jewish leaders were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now, the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So, his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret …
A Word of Hope
Does your family tell you what to do with your life? Today’s Scripture reading is a good indication that Jesus’ family sometimes did. We know that the brothers referenced are indeed his blood relations, not his spiritual family. We often use the terms “brothers and sisters” today for other members of the Christian community but, it is clear that there is a distinction made here between “Brothers” and “Disciples”, one as Jesus’ birth family and the other as his followers.
I am always fascinated by the prospect of growing up in the same house with Jesus as an actual brother. The few times the Gospels ever refer to Jesus’ at-home relationships, we get a good idea that his siblings were not his fanboys. Proximity does not equal closeness and his brothers never seemed to have much of a clue as to who he was or what his purpose might be. Since they were related to him however, they felt it was their family duty to tell him to do what they determined was best for him. Sound familiar?
They certainly had a good idea that their brother was extraordinary. When they speak of his works, we know they must have witnessed him doing some pretty amazing things around the house and they became impatient, not understanding why he was hanging around the old town and not seeking fame and fortune in the big city…especially during a huge festival where he was certain to have a large audience. Shouldn’t someone with his gifts want to become “widely known”? He was sure to bring fame to the whole family! Sure, the jealous Jewish leaders were busy plotting his death, but wouldn’t the prospect of being famous be worth taking the chance?
The difference between us and Jesus is that we never read about him throwing a tantrum and yelling, “It’s MY life!” at his meddling brothers. He knew who he was even if they didn’t. That is the lesson he still teaches us. Our families are always generous with advice, some of it actually good, and we should be grateful for their intentions, but if we follow Jesus, we should already know the way that is right for us. He did tell us to love all of our neighbors, even the ones who are related to us. Besides, some of them are good cooks.
Help us to love and appreciate our families, both of birth and of choice. May we remember that all of us are the beloved children of the same Divine Parent. Give us the patience of Jesus. Amen
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Tuesday – July 6, 2021
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Word of Hope
This verse caused me to think about the times I wasn’t patient and when I was. As a child I was, like most children, impatient about a lot of short-term things. The ice pops didn’t freeze fast enough. The trip was taking too long to get to its end. I was hungry and dinner wasn’t ready. Children do not often think in the longer term. The longest is the wait for school to get out for winter or summer break. (Ok, I was a weird kid and couldn’t wait for school to start.)
As adults we, of course, are always patient. We never get upset that the server in a restaurant takes too long to fill our tea or comes by too often asking how things are. We are always understanding in the doctor’s office when there is a delay because we know something came up to take the doctor’s attention. We are patient waiting for someone to get ready to go out and we are patient when they nag us because we are not moving fast enough. We are patient with people who wait too long at green lights (“it’s not going to get any greener”).
And if you believe that let me know. I can fix you up with a ticket for the elevator to heaven so you can avoid climbing the stairway.
But seriously as we age, we become more impatient with long term things. First, it’s a driver’s license, then being out of school entirely. We are impatient with the time it takes to get money saved up for something we want. We are impatient with not being noticed at work for the job we have done; and for the raise or promotion that goes with such notice.
Now we are impatient with the pandemic. We want it to be over. We’ve been patient (or not) with wearing masks and with people who don’t. We’re ready to breathe free. We’ve been patient and impatient with our deliveries. We’ve chafed at the inability to meet with friends. We’ve been impatient with often contradictory messages from people in authority about what to do. We feel we have endured enough and want our blessing.
I think these are the kind of things James is talking about. Of course, he is talking about Christ’s coming. But mostly he’s talking about how we should wait for that to happen. He uses a long-term example of the farmer waiting for his crop to come in. And grumbling at others is something we all do on a short-term basis. The prophets, who must have grown impatient telling the people about God’s will and
often being ignored are examples of the ups and downs of patience. Whether in the long-term or the short-term, patience is a blessing.
And, in the midst of that, James says something impactful. The Judge is at the door. Your endurance is being watched. Your patience, and your compassion, and your mercy, and that spark of God which is in all of us, are being judged.
God of love give me patience. Make my heart strong to endure what comes. Show me love that I can use to see my neighbors with compassion and mercy so that I might be patient with them as I would have them be patient with me.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
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Dallas, TX 75235
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