Sometimes I wonder about how ideas about Jesus and his way are interpreted. While my youngest child was in elementary school and got sick the teacher told her to ask herself what she had done wrong to bring on the illness. When I picked her up from school and she told me about this we went back to discuss this with the teacher and our minister. (the school was renting a building from our church)
That kind of thinking pictures a stern God who is just waiting to punish us for our sins. I am sorry that some people see God this way. Instead I see a loving God who wants the best for us. This God helps us to find our way through the bad things in life and stands with us when we struggle. I could not survive if I did not have God with each and every day.
Prayer: God, I know that you are with me and will hold my hand through all of my fears. You give me strength when I have none. Continue to give me your loving presence each and every day. AMEN
A wonderful exegesis of the Samson and Delilah story from one of my favorite writers.
In my quest to write my own Midrashim (alternate explanations for gaps in the biblical text, AKA biblical fan fiction), I’ve found that I’m drawn to stories about wicked women, like Jezebel, because I always wonder if the biblical authors were telling the whole truth or slanting the stories to fit their prejudices. It also […]
3 …………… we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Reading this morning this jumped out at me. I am so stressed but rely on God to keep me in his care. I wouldn’t have managed this long without him. This verse reminds me that all this is not wasted but will result in the glory of God. I have always believed that everything that we go through readies us to use our experiences to help others. My knowledge of how to weather the storm can be passed on. And what I pass on is filled with God’s love as that is what brings me through.
I lean on the hope that this too will pass and there will be better times in the future. I have been so supported by my family that I can never repay the love and caring shown to me. Their love has been added to God’s to uphold me. It is what has sustained me.
My husband also knew what must be done in spite of his desire to stay in our home. I think he knew what was coming and wanted me safe and secure. His love has also given me strength. I miss him but know that he helped me to do what was best. His love supported me for almost 59 years and will continue to do so. I know that I was and am loved.
This morning I came across a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel that has continued to stay with me all day. It is one of those things that causes the brain to expand.
The primary task of the philosophy of religion is to discover those questions to which religion is the answer.
This is so much the reverse of what we usually do that it is hard to think about. We have so many questions about our faith and God. This makes me think about why it is all important. What is it for me that the answer is religion…or not religion exactly but God? What question would I be asked that the answer would be God? I think one would be what holds me together? What gives me strength and supports me on my path?
I am not sure that these are the type of questions that the rabbi meant but these are certainly questions that would lead me back to God as the answer. I know I will be pondering this quote for a while and just to take this one step further I was reminded of this quote from Thomas Merton. Not exactly the same thing but something else to think about.
At first is seems odd that this suggests that fear causes us to believe in something we cannot see. The truth is that is exactly what we are doing. It is so easy to worry about things that will never happen. To project what we imagine into our future. We often make mountains out of molehills. There are certainly things to fear that are real but even those have aspects that we can’t even imagine.
Projecting ourselves into the future is useless. Leaning on the promises given to us by God is a much better use for our energy. Faith in God is a strong rock to hold on to.
Prayer: God whose grace gives us hope, remind us that fear does us no good. Help us to turn to you each moment and accept your love and promises.
Tonight, Lord, I look for your peace. My life has changed so drastically in the last few months but most on my mind is my daughter’s breast cancer and waiting for news tomorrow of how far this has gone and what is to be next.
My heart longs for your healing grace and the love I know you bear for me and my family. Let us feel the touch of your presence to ease our hurting hearts and remind us that no matter what you will be present each and every day. AMEN
Lately I have felt the impulse to sing to God before beginning my nightly prayers. St. Francis says: “He who sings prays twice.” I miss that part of worship in church so I have decided to use it at home. The song that has continued in my heart is How Great Thou Art.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
This was the scripture today from Bible Gateway. It resonates with me. Sometimes we do ask but the things we ask for are not important. Sometimes we ask for important things and don’t get the answer we want.
That makes it easy to think that prayer doesn’t matter. It seems as if no one is listening. However, God is always listening. His love and caring are with us every moment. He hears the prayers and understands our fears and pains.
Prayer matters. Don’t give up because you things it doesn’t matter. Don’t stop because you think it has to be a formal kind of prayer. Just speak your heart. God hears.
I feel as if I have missed so much of advent. I love the readings, the candles, the feeling of the season. Usually I feel such a sense of anticipation but this year that is absent. I almost dread Christmas. I am not ready. For me it is about giving and this year I have so little to give. Advent gears me up and instills a sense of awe.That awe is not present.
Seek that awe.It is what gets us ready for the birth of Jesus. It helps us to experience Christmas with all the joy it demands.