Good morning. It is Sunday, January 13, 2013. Feels like a regular work day. But we have to be up early, because Christi’s running the Mac and I’m playing in the worship band, plus we now do set up on Sunday morning at 715. Ugh. We did manage to get the few things done that needed to be done yesterday. The rest of the day was fairly restful. My kind of Saturday.
Today is “National Rubber Ducky Day.” Really? That’s a thing?
On this date, in 1898, an article appeared in the French newspaper, L’Aurore, entitled “J’accuse.” “The article accused the leaders of the French Army of framing an innocent Army captain on a charge of treason in 1894, and then, four years later, of covering up their misdeed by arranging the acquittal of a second officer whom they knew to have been the guilty party. The accused captain was named Alfred Dreyfus, “the only Jew on the Army’s general staff.” The writer of the article, “J’accuse,” was Emile Zola. Zola was quickly put on trial for libel, and found guilty, after which he fled to England. Zola died in 1902, before justice could be done, but, eventually, the real guilty officer confessed his role. Dreyfus was cleared of all charges in 1906, restored to the Army, “promoted to the rank of major and given the Legion of Honor.” He later served in WWI as a lieutenant colonel. (From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
Today’s birthday is Carol Cleveland, born on this date in 1942. Never heard of her? I’m not surprised. Ms. Cleveland was the only female to appear in a recurring role in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! Psalm 98:1
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Psalm 71:8
Father, I pray for a glimpse of you during this time today. Fill my heart with your Spirit and my mouth with your praise.
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “Do Not Fear.” The scripture reference is Isaiah 41:10; 43:1-5.
41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.
“The recurring promise of God’s presence is the most fundamental assurance given in gospel faith. God is with us: ours is a with-God life.” The very announcement transforms circumstances by giving us the awareness of his presence. Even in the pronouncement of the birth of Christ, the words “Do not be afraid” were heard at key points. And Jesus’s birth and resurrection are “decisive events in the history of the world” that enforce the knowledge of God’s presence among us.
We often forget how precious we are in God’s eyes. He loves us with an everlasting love. I am challenged to read and reflect on these words of scripture again, throughout this day. As I read them, I will reflect on my sense of security in his love.
Father, I thank you for loving me. I praise you that, according to scripture, I am loved and honored in your eyes. But I am not so foolish that I do not recognize that this is due to no merit of my own, but solely on the basis of the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His presence among us, in birth, in resurrection, and in his inhabitance of my spirit, are the keystones of my life and my knowledge of your presence in my life. Thank you, Father, for being with us. I thank you for the “with-God life.”
I pray for this day. May our worship celebration glorify you this morning. I lift up a special prayer for my brother Brett, who I just found out is in the emergency room this morning, due to some kind of pain experienced while getting ready for church this morning. I’m thinking maybe back pain. You know. Heal him quickly, Father.
We are loved by God. This life is a “with-God life.” He is here. He is with us.
Grace and peace, friends.