This morning I came across a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel that has continued to stay with me all day. It is one of those things that causes the brain to expand.
The primary task of the philosophy of religion is to discover those questions to which religion is the answer.
This is so much the reverse of what we usually do that it is hard to think about. We have so many questions about our faith and God. This makes me think about why it is all important. What is it for me that the answer is religion…or not religion exactly but God? What question would I be asked that the answer would be God? I think one would be what holds me together? What gives me strength and supports me on my path?
I am not sure that these are the type of questions that the rabbi meant but these are certainly questions that would lead me back to God as the answer. I know I will be pondering this quote for a while and just to take this one step further I was reminded of this quote from Thomas Merton. Not exactly the same thing but something else to think about.
At first is seems odd that this suggests that fear causes us to believe in something we cannot see. The truth is that is exactly what we are doing. It is so easy to worry about things that will never happen. To project what we imagine into our future. We often make mountains out of molehills. There are certainly things to fear that are real but even those have aspects that we can’t even imagine.
Projecting ourselves into the future is useless. Leaning on the promises given to us by God is a much better use for our energy. Faith in God is a strong rock to hold on to.
Prayer: God whose grace gives us hope, remind us that fear does us no good. Help us to turn to you each moment and accept your love and promises.
Tonight, Lord, I look for your peace. My life has changed so drastically in the last few months but most on my mind is my daughter’s breast cancer and waiting for news tomorrow of how far this has gone and what is to be next.
My heart longs for your healing grace and the love I know you bear for me and my family. Let us feel the touch of your presence to ease our hurting hearts and remind us that no matter what you will be present each and every day. AMEN
Lately I have felt the impulse to sing to God before beginning my nightly prayers. St. Francis says: “He who sings prays twice.” I miss that part of worship in church so I have decided to use it at home. The song that has continued in my heart is How Great Thou Art.
“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.
I feel as if I have missed so much of advent. I love the readings, the candles, the feeling of the season. Usually I feel such a sense of anticipation but this year that is absent. I almost dread Christmas. I am not ready. For me it is about giving and this year I have so little to give. Advent gears me up and instills a sense of awe.That awe is not present.
Seek that awe.It is what gets us ready for the birth of Jesus. It helps us to experience Christmas with all the joy it demands.
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.
In the church that I belong to Advent is the first season of the church year. This is our New Year. The church set aside three years for reading most of the significant parts of the Bible to be sure that they are read over the three years.
The word Advent is derived from the Latin word “coming’ which we know reflects the coming of Christ into the world. The beginning of advent starts with one candle being lit and the rest each Sunday. There can be four or five candles in the wreath. When there are five the fifth is lit for Christmas.
During advent we can get very busy with all the preparations for Christmas…buying gifts, baking cookies, decorating and it is so easy to forget the point of it all. Take some time to think about the arrival of a child who will change everything.
It is advent my favorite season of the church year. I am sad that I can’t attend church and see the advent colors on the alter and the wreath lit week after week. I miss it so. I love this hymn that can be used adding a verse each week.
Advent is for anticipation and expectation. It is a time for looking toward good things. What could be better than the birth of a baby. Even after the upheaval of moving, downsizing and changing our lives completely I still want to immerse myself in the coming joy.
Today I cleaned out a file cabinet and found some things I wrote a while ago. This one stood out to me and I kept it out so I could think about it. It was written after re-reading the beatitudes in Matthew 5.
Turn loose of your pride and know that you are not the most important thing in the world. Forget “I can do anything better than you” and substitute ” together we can do anything.”
Remember when everything is gone…God is still there.
Be content with what you have. Remember the most important thing is to have a relationship with God.
Look for God and he will find you. When you are filled with God nothing else is needed.
Remember Christ’s commandment. Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your soul and all you mind and your neighbor as yourself.
Clean out the closet in yourself. Git rid of the grudges and pain you still carry for no reason. Let God fill those places.
Be the peacemaker. Don’t take sides. Be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.
Be different. Be unusual enough that someone asks “why do you act that way?” And you can answer “because I follow Christ.”