Monday – June 15, 2020
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
A Word of Hope
I think that one day humanity will wake up and say, “My goodness! A little light is all it took to create heaven on Earth.” Yes, a little faith, a little hope, and a little love can create an Eden. Just as a candle gives light to a room, a connection with God enlightens and brings life. Wisdom is the enlightenment of God; it is the knowledge that good surpasses evil. A speck of light exists within the soul, and this light, which is of God, is our connection to heaven.
The path of the soul, which leads to life, understands that we are meant to try. We must try to have a relationship with God. We must try to be better than we were yesterday. And, we must try without knowing what it is we are trying to accomplish. Within the very essence of living one finds that it is often that we live without knowing how to live; nevertheless, we try. This is the glory of humanity: that we reach towards the stars, to heaven.
Make no mistake, we will fail, and fail, and fail again. This will be a hard and an endless pursuit. The greatest of our gifts, our children, will not come into being without pushing against overwhelming obstacles. In the same way, what each one of us hopes to achieve will not happen unless we struggle for it. Once the children of the future are born, at great and greater costs, our blessings will be perfect and complete.
A seed remains in the ground a long time before a tiny sprout becomes visible. We water the seed, the sun shines on it, and we provide good soil; yet, in all appearances nothing is happening. All the while, however, the seed is going through a great change. It grows, underneath the Earth, roots. If we use the seeds that God gave us, faith, hope, and love, we trust that what will grow must be good.
A little faith, a little hope, and a little love, God, is all I have. How is it that I never run out? The future is bright. Teach me that a little speck of light, however small it may be, can change the world. Jesus, when He was born, was little. That precious babe… taught us that great things can come in small packages.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday June 12, 2020
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear God, and God’s righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep the covenant and remember to do God’s commandments.
Words of Hope
If I believe God is loving and just and the source of grace, then why should I fear God? To be honest, I do not fear God, but rather am in awe of God and all creation. I find it much more authentic to keep my covenant with the Lord when I think of God as a loving parent.
The best parents guide their children and shelter them until they are old enough to stand on their own, yet they never abandon them. They remain a factor in the child’s life even in adulthood and offer council and unconditional love whenever sought.
My father died when I was 18, just a few months before I came out. I will never know if he would have been supportive or not. My mother, on the other hand, once she had gotten over the disappointment of having no grandchildren, became my strongest supporter. She even became a member of the first PFLAG chapter in Dallas. Much to my dismay, she was the quintessential Jewish mother in many respects and soon tried to set me up with other gay men she knew. That didn’t work out, but I appreciated the effort.
As I grew into adulthood, I could always rely on my mother to lend me a supportive ear and words of encouragement when I was facing struggles. Her love was about as steadfast as I can imagine. She was my friend and confidante until the day she died and for that I am grateful.
I can still find that steadfast love in the God of my understanding. I see it modeled in the life and teachings of Jesus, and in lives of my friends who follow Him. It is no surprise Jesus referred to God as Abba, father. He and his followers were a big extended family, all in covenant with God and receiving that steadfast love, even in the face of adversity.
Lord, may I keep your covenant and follow your commandments not out of fear, but out of my love and respect for your limitless love and strength. May I always stand in awe before you and do your will.
Thursday – June 11, 2020
James 3:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Words of Hope
I was ten years old when a Sunday school teacher told me about Jesus and said He wanted to be my friend. She said he would be closer than a brother. My older brother was my hero. He was the one who took me to get my shots before starting the first grade, assuring me it would hurt, but just for a little while. He also taught me to read and write so I could be “smart” when I started to school. When little boys teased me about my “crossed eyes”, my big brother made sure it did not happen again. Oh yes, if Jesus could top that, I was all in.
As years went by, my hero brother, who was six years older than me, was not always close at hand. At one point he even refused to speak to me for several years. Eventually he decided being close was more important than being right, and I had no trouble welcoming him right back into my heart where I had reserved his space all along.
My Sunday School Teacher was right. Jesus had remained my constant and ever-present “closer than a brother” friend through it all. There was even a time when I questioned all that I had been taught about God. Of course, some things needed to go. Those were the ideas of men and women who probably meant well but, were misinformed about the teachings of Jesus. For a while, though, I threw out my faith along with those teachings.
Fortunately, I realized my error, and asked Jesus to forgive me and be my friend again. He had never stopped being my friend any more than I had stopped loving my brother. He was patiently waiting for me to draw near to Him.
During this time of social distancing, and necessary changes in our ways of “being” with our friends, we don’t have to worry about how we communicate with our friend Jesus. No distance required!
Dear God, thank you for loving us so much and for sending your son Jesus to be our teacher and friend. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to guide us. Today, help us to be fully tuned in to your spirit. Help us to be true friends to Jesus and to serve you in all the ways you choose to use us. We will answer your love with joy and laughter and praise.
Carole Anne Sarah
Wednesday – June 10, 2020
Ephesians 2:14 For Christ is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
Words of Hope
Throughout history, countless efforts have been made to unite humankind based on liberty, equality, and community without bloodshed. The Jew regarded the Gentile with a proud and pompous superiority and the Gentile regarded the Jew as an enemy of humanity. However, no principle is yet discovered as effective as through the gospel of Christ with the doctrine of forgiveness and grace.
We are born with certain innate reactions, like crying. On the other hand, every new baby is born without prejudice or criticism of another person’s skin color or beliefs. Instead, they must be trained to see others as frightening, inferior and a threat.
Jesus’ work as a teacher is a continuation of the prophetical spirit of Christ. Jesus, the man born to physical parents was sent by God to become teacher, redeemer, and Jesus the Christ, who remains in the Holy Spirit forever.
As a teacher, Jesus was sent to instill the word of God in humankind with good news and never really spoke of himself. Instead, his word contained the treasures and foundation of all Christian truth. Jesus never separated himself as superior to one race or another. Instead we read countless situations of his inclusion and support for the most defiled and ostracized outcasts of his time.
It was Jesus who broke down the wall of separation laid in Abraham’s time regarding circumcision which created a quarrel throughout all ages. Christ’s death was the manifestation of Divine love and Divine justice. He became our Peace when He entered into the covenant of peace, met the stipulation for peace, undertook to satisfy all the demands of law and justice for peace, and pledged Himself to be that peace.
The world persists with futile attempts to unify humankind on a basis of liberty, equality, fraternity and much too often, with bloodshed. The constant principal of peace, rests in the simple teachings of Christ.
Creator God remind us in our fear, that all humankind are made in your image and no one is any greater than another. Amen
Tuesday – June 9, 2020
Psalm 2: 1-12
A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in God’s temple all say, ‘Glory!’ The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as ruler forever. May the Lord give strength to the people! May the Lord bless the people with peace!
Word of Hope
This psalm is one of the ones, that under most circumstances, would not speak to me very well. I would attribute the voice of God as some natural phenomenon being given over to divine explanation of primitive peoples.
But as I reread it, in light of the last stanza in particular, I was reminded of the UCC saying “God is still speaking.” What is the voice of the Lord? Clearly the Psalmist had not seen any of these things – they are not recorded elsewhere in the Bible. At least it is easy to assume that shaking the wilderness or stripping the trees bare at the sound of the Lord’s voice would have been noticed somewhere.
No doubt lacking our scientific knowledge these ancient peoples heard the voice of God in thunder, in chasing waves, in earthquakes. But I suspect, being closer to the natural world than we often are, they heard it in the mass bleating of a herd of sheep, the wind whistling through the trees and crops, the cry of a mother giving birth, the cry of the newborn child.
Perhaps today we should listen for God’s voice more in these daily things. And in the sound of hands being washed, the rumble of trucks delivering food, a ventilator keeping a Covid-19 patient alive, the snoring of a homeless person sleeping in a doorway, the cries of our oppressed siblings.
Blessed Creator, as the psalmist asks so we ask, give your people strength. Give us the strength to hear your voice, give us strength to act as your hands and feet on the earth. And bless us with peace and the strength to live in peace.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)