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.
Today is Ash Wednesday. I was crushed because things conspired against me getting to the service. I love Lent. Some people find it depressing but I see it as a time to reflect, to read something uplifting and search ourselves. It is a time to think.
Whether you choose to give up something for Lent or take something on or both Lent can bring us closer to God. Have a Holy Lent.
[ The Call of Matthew ] As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NRSV
The Lord is waiting for us. He wants the best for us. All we have to do is seek Him.
In order to get the most from our faith we have to dive in. Like Alice we need to jump down the rabbit hole. Immersed in scripture and fellowship with other Christians we can plumb the depths of God’s plan for us.
Down the rabbit hole can be a scary place and jumping down can feel like letting go of everything that feels safe but it is the way to draw closer to God. Take that leap.
Prayer is as natural as breathing. Sometimes we may pray without even knowing like smoke lifting toward the sky. But we do have to pray. We have to keep at it. There is no formula for prayer although we can use a formal prayer. Sometimes it is easier to recite something we have memorized but don’t be afraid to reach out to God in anyplace at any time.
You can pray out loud if you want. Sometimes my prayers are sung as in a meditative song or chant. God is listening no matter what. Be persistent in prayer. Keep on…keep on…keep on even if you feel that there is no one there. Feelings can get in the way. PRAY NO MATTER WHAT!!
from the Hymn Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Sometimes, when things are overwhelming, I just want to rest. I want to sit quietly in a chair, my hands falling over the armrests, my head laid back, my eyes closed and most of all my mind still.
It’s harder and harder to get my mind still. It’s filled with so much stuff !! So many things to think about…. So many worries… money, family, job.. relationships, etc. etc. I can’t rest… I can’t stop thinking.
And yet, if only I would put my worries in your hands… let my mind dwell on you… I just might manage to find that place of calm.
Prayer: God of compassion, lead me to that place of calm. ..the place where you will free my mind from all the things I can’t let go. Help me to sit there with you in perfect peace and let you soothe my cares and give me rest. AMEN
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.
In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away.
A friend of mine always said that the person that you know best is the one you spend the most time with. It is true. This should encourage us to spend time with God. God already knows us but we have much to learn.
Speak to God, pray to God, take him along every day.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The Message
14 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion.
Do we really take the time to get to know God? We get to know people by spending time with them. We can’t know those that we stay away from. There are so many ways to spend time with God. We can meet in prayer, in silence, in church, and any other place that we choose. God is waiting for us. God is always ready. It is up to us.
Prayer: God, our companion on the way, help us to seek you in everything that we do. You are always there. We are the ones who back away. Remind us to spend time with you.