Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Today is Sunday, the twenty-seventh of February, 2022, in the eighth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts today.

Day 23,362

While this week begins in Ordinary Time, the season of Lent begins Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, March 2. Which, of course, makes Tuesday, March 1, Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday.”

Our heater is now working properly. The tech showed up late yesterday evening (I felt kind of sorry for the guy, but he remained in good spirits) and replaced the circuit board. However, he showed me the one that was replaced and pointed to a black spot on it, indicating that this was where the fan relay was on the board, meaning that the blower was putting out too much amperage, which eventually fried the board. Again, indicating that the blower would likely be going out soon, or, even worse, fry another circuit board.

We have him putting together some estimates for us. It would cost another $700 to replace the blower assembly. But C and I talked with him about replacing the whole system, and he will come up with some estimates for us on that. We have a meeting scheduled on Tuesday afternoon, to look into that possibility. It would probably be wise, being that the internal heating system is as old as the house (built in 1999), and the external A/C unit is at least ten years old. The label on the unit says it was manufactured in 2005, but we don’t think we have had it that long. Unfortunately, I can’t find the receipt from when it was installed.

So we will be making that decision soon. And, in the meantime, when I turned on the light over the breakfast nook table, it flashed and then went completely out. The heater tech was still there and looked at a few things for us, but couldn’t find anything wrong with the switch, and the breaker did not trip. The only thing we can think is that there may be a fuse in the fixture, itself. Fortunately, it’s not a light fixture that we use frequently.

This morning, we have our church gathering, and we will be meeting at the host’s home. And, we have scheduled a Night of Worship for March 12. I can’t remember if I mentioned that, yesterday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"God of grace and truth,
make me whole,
a person of integrity who heals and makes peace.
I pray for eyes that see what's best in others,
a graceful and candid mouth,
hands that never twist but hold up truth,
a heart that aims to encourage,
and feet that pursue my neighbor's best.
Amen."
The LORD is gracious and merciful, 
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 
The LORD is good to all, 
and his mercy is over all that he has made. 
All your works shall give thanks to you, 
O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! 
(Psalms 145:8-10 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the sunshine and warmer temperatures today
2. for forgiveness of sin, which is purification from the evil within me
3. for the steadfast love of the Lord, new every morning
4. for the admonition/encouragement to slow down and be still and listen to the Lord
5. for the privilege/responsibility of prayer; Lord make me more faithful

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Continuing in this examination of the “prayer of prayers,” today I come to what may be the hardest phrase in the prayer. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” As most are aware, some translations use the word “debts” and “debtors,” rather than sin. But this doesn’t really change the meaning.

Simone Weil’s writing on it is a bit cryptic, but there is one thing that she says that I definitely like. “To have forgiven our debtors is to have renounced the whole of the past in a lump.” This is good. And I believe it gets to the heart of what Jesus is teaching us, in this prayer, and the words that He says immediately afterward.

Because, you see, it is worth noting that this particular phrase is the one that is singled out, after the prayer is given, for further commentary. The forgiveness of others is so significant to Him that He adds this at the end.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
(Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

Weil finishes this segment with these words: “The forgiveness of debts is spiritual poverty, spiritual nakedness, death. If we accept death completely, we can ask God to make us live again, purified from the evil in us. For to ask him to forgive us our debts is to ask him to wipe out the evil in us. Pardon is purification.”

(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffin)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
(Psalms 100:5 ESV)

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 ESV)

Today’s prayer word is “slow.” That’s ironic, because that’s how I seem to be moving today. It’s almost time to leave the house and I’m still typing, here.

Author Nicholas Sparks is quoted as writing, “Strange, what being forced to slow down could do to a person.”

Some of us have a really hard time slowing down. There is a tendency, especially in U.S. culture to be always on the go, always moving, always accomplishing something. The word “slow” can come in handy here.

Two years ago, something happened that caused the whole world to slow down. People in the U.S. kicked against that harder than anything I’ve ever seen. But God calls us to slow down. It’s not in the Bible, but perhaps “Stop and smell the roses” should be. What is in the Bible, though is this:

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him
(Psalms 37:7 ESV)

Father, help us to slow down, to be still, to know that You are God, and to stop and listen to You. I pray that You help us to know Your steadfast love, that endures forever, and to embrace the plans that You have for us, even when, and especially when, they do not line up with our own plans or desires. Make Your desires my desires.

Thank You for Your forgiveness and cleansing. Please help me to remember that this must be passed on to others when they have sinned against or offended me. More than seventy times seven.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.