Forgive Us Our Debts . . .

Good morning. It is Tuesday, September 1, 2015. 39 days to Playa Del Carmen.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is rigmarole. And all this time, I’ve been saying this word wrong. I thought it had another syllable in it . . . “rigamarole.” See? You can teach an old dog new tricks! Anyway, this noun means, “confused or meaningless talk,” or, “a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure.” I’ve you’re like me, and you are, sometimes, there is probably a lot of rigmarole that goes on where you work.

Today is Calendar Adjustment Day. What a fascinating story. From the website:

Following the British Calendar Act of 1751, Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. However, the current Julian calendar system required them to drop eleven days in order to sync themselves with the proposed Gregorian Calendar. So, on the evening of 2nd September 1752, the population of Britain and its American colonies went to sleep and awoke the next morning to 14th September 1752.

The changeover is also responsible for New Year’s Day being celebrated on 1st January, as before then it had been celebrated on 26th March.

As a result of Calendar Adjustment Day, there was rioting on the streets by those who felt cheated, and demanded the eleven days back!

Had another good band practice, last night. I seem to be playing a little better each week. Now, if I would only carve out space to practice more than once a week . . . I’m going to have to over the next couple of weeks, as I will not attend the September 7 rehearsal, because I’m not going to be at the September 12 concert. We will be in Oklahoma, at Winstar, that night, to see Jim Gaffigan. As an added bonus, Christi found a couple of mailers from Winstar that gave us two free nights at their hotel, along with free buffets at one of the restaurants! Oh, and $100 of free playing money! This trip may wind up only costing the gasoline to get there and the price we paid for the tickets, which we bought, like, last December, I think.

Christi’s going to a doctor, this morning, to see about her leg/calf. Hopefully, they can do something to get this under control before we go to Mexico, next month. We are so looking forward to this. We have also booked an excursion to Chichen Itza, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Tonight is Huddle night for me. Last week, I wrote a “Huddle Haiku.” It goes like this:

Where is direction?
Will it go round in circles?
It’s in the kairos.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 102:4-7.

My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.

The Psalmist feels as though his heart is cut off from its natural source of nourishment. His sorrow is so great that he forgets to eat.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

This is the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and another one of the difficult ones. This petition concerns our relationships with others, and our relationship with God. Luther says this about it:

If anyone insists on his own goodness and despises others . . . let him look into himself when this petition confronts him. He will find he is no better than others and that in the presence of God everyone must duck his head and come into the joy of forgiveness only through the low door of humility.

If confession and repentance are things that we find to be “traumatic or demeaning,” then our hearts are not right with God, and we will find it difficult to draw confidence from the Gospel. Keller goes on to say, “If regular confession does not produce an increased confidence and joy in your life, then you do not understand the salvation by grace, the essence of the faith.”

But Jesus goes on to link “our relationship with God to our relationship with others.” There are two ways to look at this. “If we have not seen our sin and sought radical forgiveness from God, we will be unable to forgive and to seek the good of those who have wronged us.” This means that “unresolved bitterness” in our hearts is a good indication that we are not right with God. The other side of this is that “if we are holding a grudge, we should see the hypocrisy of seeking forgiveness from God for sins of our own.” John Calvin says it this way:

If we retain feelings of hatred in our hearts, if we plot revenge and ponder any occasion to cause harm, and even if we do not try to get back into our enemies’ good graces, by every sort of good office deserve well of them, and commend ourselves to them, by this prayer we entreat God not to forgive our sins.

So, you see why this prayer is so difficult. If our hearts are not right with God and with others, we may actually be praying that God not forgive us. What a chilling thought.

Father, as I consider this part of your model prayer, I pray that your Spirit examine my heart and seek out any unforgiveness that I might have toward anyone else. At this moment, I do not believe there is any, but sometimes I am easy on myself when it comes to these things. Or perhaps there is something hidden away in there that I have completely forgotten or purposefully shoved into the shadows. May you expose any feelings in my heart, that I might make things right, both with my brothers and sisters and with you. May confession and repentance be a regular part of my experience with you, that I might be able to draw hope and confidence from the Gospel each day.

I pray for this day, that our travel might be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s doctor appointment, this morning, that relief might be forthcoming. I pray for her work day, as well. I pray that your grace would be strong in Stephanie’s life today, as well as in Rachel, Justin, and Mama. Let us always find ourselves in the center of your will for our lives.

I lift up a prayer for a college bandmate and friend, Steve, as he is in the hospital. They don’t seem to be completely certain what is wrong, other than his brain is involved somehow. May you bring healing to his body and wisdom to the attending physicians. They say surgery is probable. I pray for everything to go well for him.

Your grace is sufficient.

We should all attend to our own spiritual condition as we pray this petition. May our relationships with others be in good shape as we pray for forgiveness from God.

Grace and peace, friends.

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