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
“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.
We need to remember that God is our Father and our Mother. He is all things. Our simple minds form God in ways that we can understand and we don’t have any word to encompass all that God is. That may go some way to explain why God’s name was never spoken….there was more there than could be grasped. Think about the many images and ideas about who God is during this season of advent.
Lately I have been thinking about the word grace. It is one we don’t often talk about but it is an important word.
Ephesians 2:8-9 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.
So what is this grace? It is an example of God’s love for us. By grace he accepts us as the flawed human beings that we are. He understands how we can go astray and be unkind toward one another. He understands the hatred and the violence. He understands the discrimination toward others not like us.
God gets it all. But there is that word “grace.” The word that holds his love and understanding of all that we do. With faith we have been saved from ourselves.
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.
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.
We can have hard times in our lives. I’m sure this is one of them for many of us. When this happens we rely on the strength we can count on. The strength God supplies for us. One version of The Lord’s Prayer in the New Zealand Prayer Book makes it very clear that God is there for us. This is just an excerpt.
With the bread we need for today, feed us. In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. In times of temptation and test, strengthen us. From trials too great to endure, spare us. From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen.
I use that prayer at at night along my personal prayers. Right now the line From trials too great to endure, spare us speaks to clearly to me. God knows there are hard times and is there for us every second. Just call on God.
This time out of time has really been a test. We have all learned things. Some we never wanted to know and some that moved us forward on our journey with God. God didn’t bring this virus but we have all moved through it in whatever way we could. It has been harder for some than others. Loved ones have been lost. Many are grieving. But through it all God has been present. His loving arms have reached out to us. His peace has been offered. All we had to do was to cling on to him.
As this state of the crisis moves on we will experience new things both good and bad. God wants us to have learned from this. Our life is his. His love holds us always.