One of my favorite writers and amazing man is Dietrich Bonhoffer. The story of his life is an example for us all. This quote from his writings reminds us to think of what it means that Christ came into the world. Experience the moment before the coming of Christ and understand what it all means.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.
Christmas is coming. In this Psalm we see that nothing we can do can ransom out lives. Nothing WE can do. But coming to us on Christmas is someone who can. Someone sent by God. An infant who was born to save us. Praise God!
I have often wondered how people manage to get along without some sort of faith. I definitely could not be an atheist. When things go wrong I need someone to share it with me. I have friends who do but sharing it with God is different. There is something special about leaning on God and knowing that I am loved and understood. I don’t know what people do who don’t have anything to fall back on. In my darkest moments I am held up and cared for. For me, God is there and always will be.
A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.
Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.
Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.
We have Halloween coming our way. It is sad that all religious connection has been lost. People only think of parties with costumes and children trick or treating. Even the churches which offer alternative options don’t usually talk about the origin of the holiday. It is fine to have fun with the day but we should not forget the connections with our faith. Here is the history of that day from History.com.
Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.
Philippians 4:8 [Full Chapter]
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
What do we spend our time thinking about? I’d be willing to bet that a lot of the time it does not fit the list above. Too often we are concerned about what someone else has done. We are quick to point out flaws in others. We can also concentrate on all the negative things instead of the positive.
Consider the good things. Remember the gifts that we have been given by God and praise him!
Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
We don’t want to see the poor and needy. It disturbs us. Probably because we feel guilty about not doing something. We see homeless people on the streets and they are dirty, wear layers of clothing (have everything they own on their backs) and often smell bad. They are not pleasant to be around. They often beg for money and we generally assume that they will use the money for liquor or drugs. Hoe much we assume! I wonder if we would fee the same way if we knew their story.
Christ calls us to give out of our abundance. Maybe we think we don’t have much to give but by comparison we are very rich. The psalmist tells us that we will be happy if we help…that help will come to us in our time of need if we do. It reminds me of the saying “what goes around, comes around!” If we do nothing that could be a scary thought.
Prayer. God of the homeless and needy . Help us to not pass by when we encounter the poor. Le us see the incredible plenty that we have and inspire us to share. Remind us that we, also could be one of those in need but for your grace. AMEN
The 23rd Psalm has so much wisdom. We seldom stop to think about it. We just recite it because we have done it so often. Tonight I have been thinking about this part of it.
Psalm 23: 4 NRSV
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
or from The Message
Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
I have always wondered about the rod and staff. In our time that image didn’t mean much. Now I see it as someone strong and caring walking with me….someone who will keep me safe no matter what. Walking with God I have no fear.