Things have been so difficult for me since February. My husband was ill, in the hospital in March, no better at home until he was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic this month. At last we have answers and healing. Add covid and it became unbearable. During this time the only thing holding me together has been knowing that I am held in the arms of God. There were days when I couldn’t pray but could feel the prayers of others supporting me and lifting me up.
God never leaves us. Sometimes we may not be able to feel his presence but he is there. God never leaves us.
Fear is something that we all experience. Whether it is something simple like going to the dentist or something horribly frightening. I don’t know about you but I can keep turning my fears over to God and then immediately pick them back up. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about them and don’t share them in my prayers. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt and it is so true. Experiencing fear is what causes us distress. Let go of that fear. Turn it over to Jesus in your prayers. He can handle it.
Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.
There are so many divisions that separate people. We will join a cause…one that seems just to us and forget that we are to love the people on the other side. Injustice calls us to take sides but we can’t forget that on the other side are people that Jesus accepted and loved.
With so many divisions, many of them violent, it is not only hard to not take sides but also to see the other side as being human like us.
Jesus has mad it clear that there is no other choice. He does not ask us to forget about injustice. He calls for us to end violence and hatred but at the same time forgive and love those who we would easily chose to hate.
Psalm 33: 20-22
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
21 Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
Hope is a word to cling too. So many of us are in a time of trial but there is hope. It is out there drawing us in....reminding us to hold on....its voice heard calling. The Lord forgets not our names. We have each been called and our name is known and always remembered.
Don’t let go. Hold on. Hope is there just waiting.
When I think too much of myself, Turn my thoughts toward someone else. Anonymous, twentieth century Japan
I have been using prayers from the book Woman Prayers by Mary Ford-Grabowsky. There are some wonderful prayers in this book. This one jumped out at me today. I have so often been concentrated on myself and my problems and not thought enough about others. It is an easy trap to fall into.
Turning our thoughts to others will add perspective to our own life. Look around you at those whose needs are great. See those whose pain may be hidden. See those who are afraid to ask for help.
See others and take the focus from yourself.
I give you a new commandment, that you loveoneanother. Just as I have loved you, you also should loveoneanother. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for oneanother.”
John 14:26 But the Advocate, the HolySpirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
We don’t talk very often about the Holy Spirit but it’s tasks are very important. It dwells within us and quides us every day. The Hebrew scriptures attribute 6 characteristics to the spirit.
In the Hebrew Masoretic text the “Spirit of the Lord” is described with six characteristics (wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord), and then the last characteristic (fear of the Lord) is mentioned a second time. (yes Wikipedia but accurate)
We carry the Holy Spirit with us all the time. It is there to guide our ways and hold us when times are hard. It is an advocate…one who speaks for us and with us. It is a gift from God.
Today I realized that I haven’t written in quite a while and need to get back to posting. I have been thinking about this quote.
Pause To know the guidance of God’s Spirit, you need to be still and silent. In the cadence of your day, create some enclosures of silence where you pause and breathe and are really present to God’s presence.
-Br. Curtis Almquist Society of Saint John the Evangelist
It is important to take that time to rest in silence with God. Don’t expect for something to always come to you. It doesn’t matter. Just sitting silent and turning toward God is enough. Some people like to use the name “Jesus” over and over to focus their thoughts. Sometimes music helps. The music from the Taize community is particularly helpful. Here is one that could be used. Watch the beautiful scenes or close your eyes and just move into the song.
Once again I am thinking about the prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book. There is one phrase that has had me thinking for quite a while. I suspect that I will keep on thinking about it.
“Loving God in whom is heaven”
What a unique way to see heaven. Not as streets lined with gold or some other image that we might conjure up….but God himself/herself. In God is heaven. Being drawn into God to become part of all creation. I love that idea.
I am sure there are other ways to interpret this phrase but that is the one I am pondering now.