Good morning. It is Saturday, August 23, 2014.
Today is Valentino Day, commemorating the death of Rudolph Valentino.
With one more Friday gone, Christi only has four more 6:30 AM conference calls before she begins her new job with the U.S. Congress. Oops. Bowling Congress, that is. :-D We’re very excited about this new job. The way she has described the people she will be working with, it sounds like it’s going to be perfect for her. Plus, you know, BOWLING!! I’ll remind you again, we met in a Friday night bowling league, almost thirty years ago. (It may have already been thirty years. This December 7 will be the thirtieth anniversary of our first date!
This evening, we have our weekly prayer gathering and worship service. Tomorrow, we will travel to Mineral Wells to visit with Grandma and Grandpa, and cap off our celebration of Stephanie’s twenty-first birthday week.
(Source: This Day In History)
It was on this date in 2006 that Austrian teenager Natascha Kampusch escaped the house of the man who had abducted her ten years earlier. He had kept her imprisoned in his house for ten years, and she finally escaped when he walked away to answer a phone call while she was vacuuming his car. She ran to a neighbor’s house, who called the police. The abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, later committed suicide by jumping in front of a train.
Today’s birthdays include River Phoenix, Gene Kelly, Barbara Eden, Rick Springfield, Keith Moon, Shelley Long, Jay Mohr, Vera Miles, Nicole Bobek, Sonny Jurgensen, Mark Russell, Ernst Krenek, Tex Williams, Julio Franco, and Christian Beranek.
Julio Franco is a baseball player who turns 56 today. He has played with the Texas Rangers, and, at the age of 49, became the oldest position player in the history of MLB. His Wikipedia page says he was signed as a DH for the Fort Worth Cats in May of this year, but I don’t see his name on the current roster.
Here is a You Tube clip of a grand slam he hit in 2005, making him the oldest player to ever hit a grand slam home run.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.
(From The Divine Hours)
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.
. . . but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Today’s Gospel reading
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
There is a common misunderstanding about this particular statement that Jesus made. “Meek” and “weak” are not the same thing. The Reformation Study Bible notes suggest that this Beatitude may have been based on Psalm 37:11, which says, But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Once again, the thought here is about spiritual things, “an attitude of humility and submission to God.” Our example for meekness is Christ, himself. It might also be useful to point out that the constant usage of the word “blessed” in these statements seems to mean “happy.” So, we would be “happy” if we could exemplify all of the characteristics of the Beatitudes, which, of course, goes 180 degrees against the natural order of the world. If we are “meek,” we are also, according to Matthew Henry, “gentle towards all men.” Mr. Henry also defines meekness as being able to “bear provocation without being inflamed by it;” being either completely silent, or returning “a soft answer;” being able to show displeasure without being indecent about it; being “cool when others are hot.” The meek one would rather “forgive twenty injuries than revenge one.”
I wonder how many of us (self included) are able to accomplish these? I am constantly reminded of the words that God spoke in Luke 9:35. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Law and Grace.”
Paul tells us that the law has become “an occasion of sin. It tells man not to covet, but it leaves him helpless in avoiding covetousness.” This is why we cannot live by the law! “Rules and regulations provide sinful man with just another opportunity to sin.” The Catholic law says, “Do not eat meat on Good Friday.” However, it gives no power to “push the hamburger away.”
Are we, then, who live without the law, free to sin? Paul is very emphatic about this. In Galatians 5:13, he says, Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
So how do we live, then? How do we determine right from wrong? What shapes our behavior, if not the “law?” Paul’s answer is that the “law of the Spirit giving life has replaced the old law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 says, For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. And in Romans 6:14, this law of the Spirit is identified with grace. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Father, I pray for this law of the Spirit to be alive and active in me. I have recognized that trying to follow the “law” is unfruitful, as all it does is tell me what is wrong, without giving me any power to avoid doing that which is wrong. Your Spirit not only gives me this new “law,” but also gives me the power to live by it. It is truly a mystery, that I have not fully comprehended (nor do I expect to be able to), Christ in me, the hope of glory! Flesh is death, but the Spirit gives life. May I truly live in this life every day, while maintaining a meekness about me that mirrors Jesus Christ. May I be “gentle towards all men.” May I be able to bear provocation without lashing back. May I be the one who stays cool when all around me are heating up.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!
I pray for this day. May we be successful and safe in getting our chores done today. May you prepare our hearts to worship you this evening. I pray for safe travel to Mineral Wells tomorrow, and that we will have a good time with Grandma and Grandpa to celebrate birthdays.
May we all consider ourselves free from the law, living under grace by the power of the Spirit.
Grace and peace, friends.