Where are we secure?

The True Security: Proverbs 3:21-26

21 My child, do not let these escape from your sight:
    keep sound wisdom and prudence,
22 and they will be life for your soul
    and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you sit down,[a] you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic,
    or of the storm that strikes the wicked;
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught.

Too often we look to the wrong place for help. We hunt for our security in things of this world. We try to find it in ourselves. When we do this we fall short and end up in crisis. Our only true security is in God. This excerpt from Proverbs tells us that if we sit down (with God) we will not be afraid and we will be able to lie down in sweet sleep. It is so easy to forget this. Turn to the Lord. In him is our safety.

Trust

One of the blogs I read is by https://mypastoralponderings.com/ from Rev. James Lawrence. Today he was talking about our ability to keep on worrying in spite of god’s promises to us. I reminded me of a talk on that subject I gave as part of a series I did on healing. We tend to want to carry everything ourselves. Not just our worries but our failings, our guilts, our pains. We turn it over to God and then we pick it back up. Put it down, pick it up, put it down.

Every day we empty those things into the trash and then grab the bag and drag it behind us. We move on and drag the bag…on and on and on. Somehow we need to learn that when we turn it loose it is gone. Really gone. Forever gone. God can handle our fears and worries. We just have to trust and believe it.

Abide with me

A wonderful word from one of the brothers of SSJE

 

My dear Friends,

The coronavirus has turned our worlds upside-down. Many of us have lost our jobs, our sense of security, or our loved ones.  Our daily routines have been disrupted. The people on whom we depend are now separated from us. Some of us are suffering from isolation, while others of us have too much family or community time! We are all concerned about what this virus will mean for our futures: for our jobs or careers, our social lives, our finances, our organizations or businesses, our churches, and our happiness.

We are finding solidarity with others around the world in our suffering, which may turn out to be a great gift if we recognize our oneness and mutual interdependence. But it is coming at a high cost.

How do we respond to these disruptions, losses and uncertainties? Where do we turn for support and encouragement, for consolation and hope?

In John’s gospel, Jesus speaks intimately and lovingly to his friends, knowing that he will soon be separated from them: “Abide in me as I abide in you,” he tells them (Jn 15:4). He knows that dark days are ahead. He knows their faith will be tested. He knows they will suffer. He tells them to “abide” in him.

We can understand this “abiding” as an expression of deep commitment and intimate communion. The Greek word that is used here in the original text has a sense of toughness about it. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Hang in there with me, and I’ll hang in there with you,” or “Stick it out with me and I’ll stick it out with you.” The word is usually translated as “abide” or “remain,” but it has this edgy quality about it.

I believe his words here are meant to convey both solace and challenge. We can abide in him as a place of refuge and safety. His love surrounds and protects us. It holds us steady and offers a deep peace that enables us to face great challenges with courage and strength. He abides in us. We find our home in him, just as he has made his home in us. We are forever joined in love and communion. As St Paul says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:35-39).

But these words also offer a challenge. The purpose of this “abiding” is to make our lives fruitful. There is work to be done and Jesus tells us that we are incapable of doing this work in our own strength. For this reason we need to be joined to him and to his strength; without him we can do nothing.

I’ve been reflecting on these two dimensions of Jesus’ call to “abide in me as I abide in you,” drawing consolation from Jesus’ nearness in these confusing times, and asking what he wants me/us to do in response to the peculiar challenges of our day. The call is to rest and to respond, to find solace and to find a sense of mission or purpose.

What does “abiding” mean to you? What implications does it have for you now, in these disorienting and uncertain times?

God bless you all,Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
Assistant Superior

Deep roots

Victory
Send down your roots into deep soil, so that when trouble comes, you can remain steadfast and unmovable, knowing that God always has the final word. And rejoice. Always and everywhere. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in. Easter is Love’s Victory over evil and death; all fear is washed away. You – yes, you! – are a beloved child of God.

-Br. David Vryhof
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

wind and tree

This is so true. Our roots must be anchored in God but what we have to remember our branches must be flexible or the wind will blow them down.We have to be able to adapt to changes and bend to survive. So we must have deep roots in God and still be able to bend with change. God will strengthen us with both.

 

 

 

Trust

There are so many wonderful posts from the brothers in this group. I hope this has as much meaning for you as it did for me.

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Trust

It’s not that God can’t, or doesn’t, or won’t work during the brightness of the day, but we need God most in those moments of our life that are full of darkness and fear. If you have ever been or are even now afraid of the dark – afraid of the darkness of your own life, afraid of the darkness of the life of another, afraid of the darkness of the world – take courage for as terrifying as it can be, Holy Week promises us that God is at work even there, even then, even now.

-Br. James Koester
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

The peace of God

The world is a scary place. Even more so now. People are frightened of catching this new virus. In reality, so am I. My husband and I are in a vulnerable part of the population being older.

The truth is we can’t spend all of our time being afraid. Things happen every day and something that goes wrong may have nothing to do with Corona Virus. We have to keep our perspective. God has promised to be with us not matter what. We need to spend our time focusing on good things and not spend our time in fear. God’s peace with uphold us.

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“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole.

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.

God never moves

If God seems far from you who has moved? unknown

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God never moves. No matter how you feel…whether lost or alone…God never moves. Sometimes our emotions and feelings get in the way and we feel deserted. Down in the depths of darkness when we can’t see, can’t pray, immobilized, God is still there with us. We have to remember that.

 

 

 

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

God knows our names

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for Ihave redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When my granddaughter was baptized the church made a full size banner that had her name on it and that quote. I have never forgotten it. Whenever I wonder if God knows that I am here or that any member of my family is here I remember that.
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Come, thou long expected Jesus

December 4 

from the Hymn Come, thou long expected Jesus,

 

adventCome, 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