Today is Thursday, the 30th of March, 2023, in the fifth week of Lent.
May the peace of the Lord be with you always!
Today is Opening Day for baseball. The Texas Rangers play at 3:05 PM CDT, against the Philadelphia Phillies. Jacob deGrom will take the mound for Texas. There are a few of us, at least, who believe it should be Martin Perez, but deGrom was the big-money acquisition in the off season.
The Boston Red Sox start their season in division, against the Baltimore Orioles. They play at 2:10 PM, EDT. Corey Kluber will start for Boston.
Tomorrow is the last day of March, and this coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of what we call Holy Week. It will be a busy week for me.
My Wordle score for today:
Wordle 649 4/6*
This morning, I have an appointment at the eye doctor at 10:00, so I’d best get moving. It’s not far away, so I won’t need to leave too early. I’m overdue for this exam, as I should be having one every year. I’m not sure I had one last year.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (Psalms 119:165 NRSV)
LUTHER'S MORNING PRAYER We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected us through the night from all danger and harm. We ask you to preserve and keep us, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all our thoughts, words, and deeds we may serve and please you. Into your hands we commend our bodies and souls and all that is ours. Let your holy angels have charge of us, that the wicked one have no power over us. Amen.
Lord God, we thank you for having revealed yourself on this earth in the midst of sin, need, and oppression. We thank you that we can have joy in all you have done both before and since the coming of Jesus Christ, our Savior in everything. To you be praise and thanks. Our hearts leap up with joy in you and in your deeds. Grant that we may be faithful to the end, victorious in all things through your Spirit, who helps and blesses us on our way. Grant your help to all who call to you and who long to rejoice in you. Amen.
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalms 33:20-22 NRSV)
Today I am grateful:
- that our Father has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ
- for the peace that comes to us from meditating on the Word of God
- that God gives us life
- that Jesus Christ controls the cosmos
- for my senses, eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to taste, nose to smell, and the ability to touch and feel
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. (Psalms 86:11 NRSV)
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge. (Psalms 71:15 NRSV)
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalms 147:10-11 NRSV)
And Ezra said: “You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.”
(Nehemiah 9:6 NRSV)
In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.
(Revelation 1:16 NRSV)
According to Eugene H. Peterson, something held in the right hand means that it is ready to use. (Unless one is left-handed, of course.) The soldier who has a sword in his right hand is ready to fight. The shepherd holds his staff in his right hand is ready to work. Likewise the builder with a hammer in his right hand.
Now, we know from further reading in Revelation, that these seven stars that Jesus held in His right hand represented the seven churches that would be addressed in the following chapters. But it is not beyond reason, I think, to consider that Jesus does, in fact, hold the cosmos in His right hand. Jesus controls the universe; He controls everything.
What do we hold in our right hands? What do we possess that we are ready to use?
Today, I hold prayer in my right hand. Not literally, of course. Now I’m speaking figuratively. But I am ready to pray. In fact, I have already prayed. One of the first things that I do, before I start typing all of this stuff, is to pray for things that 1) are in my prayer book, 2) have been posted on my daily Facebook prayer post, 3) have been sent to me in private messages, and 4) have appeared in my email inbox from the church where I am on the prayer team.
I do not say these things to boast in my own ability. I have been called “Prayer Warrior” by some. I don’t see myself as a prayer warrior. I don’t see my prayers as being life-changing or earth-shattering. I always hope they are effective. But if they are, it is not because of my power, because I have none. It is because the God to whom I am praying has the power. It is He who holds the worlds in His hands; it is He who controls the cosmos; and it is He who is able to do far and above all that we could ask or imagine.
I hold prayer in my “right hand,” and I am ready to use it, whenever called upon.
I am also trying to keep a strong grip on love in my right hand. That is, at times, more challenging than prayer. But I believe in love, and I believe, strongly, that we all need to do a better job of it.
What do you have in your right hand?
Father, I thank You for calling me to the work of prayer. I also thank You for convicting me, way back, of the need for love and how badly we need a “love revolution” in this world. Help me to be faithful in both, to pray “without ceasing,” and to love You with all of my being, and to love my fellow humans as myself.
Keep my “right hand” strong, and keep me every willing to use whatever tools that You have given me, to the furtherance of Your Kingdom. And may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep me both outwardly in my body and inwardly in my soul, that I may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; 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)
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 NRSV)
Grace and peace, friends.