Last night before going to sleep I listened to this music which is also a prayer…for ourselves to find peace. It strengthens me when I am anxious and remind me that I don’t have to rely on my own strength. I hope that this hymn can give you hope.
I am posting a video with words and then my favorite which is in Spanish.
Today the scripture assigned for the day talk about Mary and Martha and the death of Lazarus. Be aware as you read this scripture that Mary and Martha expected Jesus to come when they sent for him. Jesus love them and their brother and surely Jesus would come right away. Instead they waited for 2 days. They waited as we are waiting now for something to change. They waited and Jesus came and their grief was removed by the raising of Lazarus. They waited and in the end all was well. We must do the same. In the end:
• All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Julian of Norwich
John 11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Death of Lazarus
11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today;
Sometimes it is hard to explain why bad things happen and it can make some question if God is there or if he cares. I am sure that those fleeing Egypt felt deserted as they struggled on their journey. They had to be reminded (just as we do) that God is there and never leaves us.
Romans 5: 4-5
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Many of us have something to endure right now. This verse tells us that “endurance produces character.” This is very true. Whenever we go through a trial we come away with new insights, new ideas, and new compassion. By enduring we understand better those who have endured before us. We have insight we can use to help others.
Take what you have learned and share your compassion.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV
How often we create God to be what we want. Each of us has an image of God and I wouldn’t be surprised it they were all different. If we were raised as Christians our earliest images were probably Jesus with the children or some other pleasant and kind fatherly image. As we grow that image can change along with us. The more we learn the more we alter that image. We have to be careful to read the Bible and pay attention to the words of Jesus. His statements about and the parables give us an image to think about.
It’s my experience that we’re much more afraid that there might be a God than we are that there might not be. from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Are we willing to believe that God loves us and is present in our world? Many times things happen that we slough off to coincidence when it could be a miracle. Do you have your eyes open to see the works of God? Pay attention. Miracles happen every day.
Ephesians 2:8-9 [Full Chapter]
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
In my youth I believed that good works would get me into heaven. The thing is, that made getting into heaven up to me. If I was good enough, if I worked hard enough, if I kept on the straight and narrow I could earn my way.
My belief has changed. It is important for me to be a good person and strive to be what God wants me. However, God’s grace has been given to me as a free gift. That is so hard to grasp. Does it free me from responsibility for my behavior? No but I am not perfect and never will be. It is only God’s grace that can save me and it has been freely given.
Thanks be to God!
Tonight I was thinking about Psalm 46 and its wonderful message. The words of this Psalm has always been special to me. Years ago I was a choir director in a church. I had a wonderful choir and there were few pieces that they couldn’t do. I ran across this piece by Pote and just loved it. You can find many versions of it on YouTube but I chose this one as it has the words. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
“Praying is like using a cell phone. Sometimes we have a clear communication or hear and be heard clearly. At other times there is no signal.” loosely quoted from “The Two Popes.”
Sometimes we think that prayer does no good. We don’t seem to have any answer and it seems that no one is listening. Sometimes we are in “the dark night of the soul” feel as if we are praying into a void.
All those feeling and doubts are our side of the prayer. God has not moved. God is still listening. We can’t “expect” to feel something all the time. That is not how it goes. Feelings get in our way. Put them aside and just know that prayer works. Prayer is a way to share those feelings with God. Don’t be afraid to complain about it seeming useless. Fuss if you feel that way. Tell God everything. God gets it. Just keep on praying.