Remembrance

“His love in times past forbids me to think he’ll leave me at last in troubles to sink.” ~ John Newton, Begone Belief

Today is Sunday, May 24, 2020, the seventh Sunday of Easter. Peace be with you.

Day 22,718

Memorial Day is tomorrow.

I just wasted at least a half hour trying the new WordPress editor that will be launched soon. Just like all of the other new editors they launch, it will not work for me. Maybe I’m too old and set in my ways, but I cannot get it to do what I want it to do. For example, the poem that I will put in, below the lines, kept coming up as a paragraph, with no line breaks. And if you hit “enter,” to space the lines out, you get double-spacing. I would rather stick with the old editor, where I can use HTML whenever I want to make things look like I want them to. Even adding the horizontal lines took three or four times longer than simply copying and pasting HTML code, which is how I do it now. Maybe I can find a support page that will make it easier, but for now, I will stick with the old-school editor.

We will be having our virtual worship gathering soon (10:15). This morning, we will discuss the possibility of meeting at Brandon and Kristin’s house next weekend. If we decide to do this, we will still offer the Zoom option, for those who are not comfortable meeting together, yet. The three of us leaders are okay with going ahead with this. I’m probably the more cautious of the three, which is ironic, because I was the only one opposed to stopping the in-person meetings, back in March. Go figure. But I think we will be fine. As long as Kristin doesn’t try to spray us down with Clorox when we walk in the door.

C worked in the yard, yesterday, mowing both front and back yards, and cleaning out the old plastic storage shed we have in the back corner. We thought we might have to toss the whole shed, because it seemed to be falling apart. But in the process, C discovered that, for reasons neither one of us can remember (the thing’s been there, probably eighteen years, at least), we put it on top of a wooden pallet, which was also on top of cinder blocks. Of course, the pallet had rotted out, so the shed was not resting level. So, C got rid of the pallet, and it seems to be fine. We use the shed to store pool toys, such as floats, noodles, balls, water guns, and so on. We used to keep chemicals in it, but we no longer keep those, because we pay someone to handle that for us.

We went to Bill’s drive-by birthday celebration, yesterday evening, which was great fun. We got to see and chat with a lot of friends for a few minutes (until another car appeared behind us), which was very good. Then we picked up Subway for dinner, and came back home.

Outside of our church gathering, I know of no plans for today. C will probably come up with something to do. That’s what she does, you know.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

“Father, I abandon myself
into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”

Charles de Foucauld

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
(Psalms 98:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. For another opportunity to worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ
2. That our “worship gathering” is more than just watching church leaders on a video from their church stage (I’m not knocking that, if it’s what you like; I prefer interaction with people)
3. That the glory of the Lord endures forever (Psalm 104)
4. For the connection we have with all the saints, through the Holy Spirit
5. For the remembrance of Your love in the past, that keeps me confident in the present

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 ESV)

I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
(Psalms 119:141 ESV)

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.
(Psalms 71:8 ESV)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
(John 1:6-9 ESV)

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 104:31-35 ESV)

“Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:42-47 ESV)

“We need human connection; God designed us that way! Painful seasons of loneliness point to that need. Like the people of the early church, it’s important for us to engage in the human companionship our well-being requires and to offer it to those around us who also need it.”
(Kirsten Holmberg, Our Daily Bread)

What a timely word for our little band of believers, as we discuss gathering together again, next Sunday! Yes, we need that human connection!

I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you— vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.
(Psalms 66:13-16 NIV)

In the first part of this psalm, the psalmist has remembered the work of God in the lives of His people. The result is that he is “filled with gratitude and confidence. It is our part to remember these deeds and praise God, so that our hearts remain confident and trusting in all circumstances.” John Newton wrote, in his hymn Begone Unbelief, “His love in times past forbids me to think he’ll leave me at last in troubles to sink.”

The most important “deed” to remember is “Jesus’s sacrifice of his own life for you. Remembering God’s past love is the only way to face present stress with confidence and poise.”

“Lord: ‘Since all that I meet shall work for my good, the bitter is sweet, the medicine is food; Though painful at present, wilt cease before long, And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!’ Amen.” (Also from John Newton’s Begone Unbelief)

Yes, Lord, I pray that I shall always be reminded of the love that You have had for me/us in the past, including the ultimate expression of love made by Jesus in His sacrifice for us. Help me to remember, and help me to know that these things prove to me that You will never leave nor forsake us, ever.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us to remember.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” Job 5.8-9

Grace and peace, friends.