Today is Tuesday, the sixth day of June, 2023, in the second week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of the Lord be with you always!
My Wordle for today:’
Wordle 717 4/6*
I really should have gotten that in three. My third guess was a bit silly, as it included a letter that had already been eliminated. My streak is at three days. Yesterday’s word was “ennui.” That one probably tripped up a bunch of people.
There’s not a lot to write about between yesterday and today. It was a pretty chill day, yesterday. As predicted, I put away a couple loads of laundry, and got the trash out for today’s pickup. Isn’t that exciting??
I’ve been tracking weather ever since last summer’s heat wave. I am dismayed to see that, in the ten-day forecast, we are expected to have triple digit temperatures next Wednesday and Thursday. My PC app shows 102 for Wednesday and 105 for Thursday! My phone app has 105 for Wednesday and 106 for Thursday. Even worse! My phone shows chances of thunderstorms all week, this week, but the PC only shows thunderstorms on Saturday. Today’s high is expected to be around 90.
The Texas Rangers pulled out a close one, last night, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3. Martin Perez pitched great, only giving up one run, but didn’t get the win because the bullpen blew the lead and allowed two runs to tie the game. The closer, Will Smith (1-2) (not the Fresh Prince), pitched in the top of the ninth, held the score, and then, after one of the Cardinals missed a tricky pop foul, Nathaniel Lowe hit a ground ball between short and third, to score the winning run from second base. It was pretty intense. Marcus Semien, who scored the winning run, has a 24-game hitting streak.
The Rangers are now 39-20, in first place in the AL West, still 3.5 games ahead of the Astros. The Rangers and Cardinals play again today, at 7:05 CT, in Arlington. Dane Dunning (4-1) will start for Texas.
The Boston Red Sox lost the final game of the series (and the series) to the Rays, 4-1. Brayan Bello (3-4) took the loss for Boston. The Sox are now 30-30, in last place in the AL East. They head to Cleveland to play the Guardians tonight at 7:10 ET. James Paxton (1-1) will start for Boston. Somebody named Bieber is starting for Cleveland. Surely it’s not Justin.
Tampa Bay leads MLB with a 43-19 record. Texas remains second with 39-20, still 2.5 games behind the Rays. Oakland (I need a macro to create this sentence so I don’t have to keep typing it every day) trails, with a 12-50 record. Pittsburgh keeps winning, and has a six-game winning streak. Texas is second with their four-game winning streak. Oh. Along with Miami. Oakland now has a five-game losing streak. The Rangers still lead with a +153 run differential, while Oakland is now at -213.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples. (Psalms 9:11 NRSV)
Today I am grateful:
- for my morning coffee
- for the cat that is currently showing me great affection
- for the great and marvelous deeds of our God
- that the steadfast love/mercy (chesed) of the Lord is established forever; it will never rest or depart from us
- that all people are equal at the foot of the cross
I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. (Psalms 89:1-2 NRSV)
Lord our God, gather us together in one flock to praise you with one heart and one voice. Let this praise ring out on earth in the midst of all the evils that still confront us. We thank you for your protection, for all the help and deliverance you give us. We thank you for the hope you put into our hearts. We thank you for the hope that we may yet see great things done through the working of your Spirit, for us your children and for all peoples and nations. For your love will not rest until life on earth has come into your hands and all may rejoice. Amen.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, (Psalms 67:1 NRSV)
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. (Psalms 65:5 NRSV)
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth. They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalms 138:1-8 NRSV)
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.
"O God, from who all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration I may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; 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)
Thus says the LORD: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, "We will not walk in it." Also I raised up sentinels for you: "Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!" But they said, "We will not give heed." Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth; I am going to bring disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not given heed to my words; and as for my teaching, they have rejected it. (Jeremiah 6:16-19 NRSV)
Thus says the LORD: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD.
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 NRSV)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. (Psalms 23:1-3 NRSV)
This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase, and go in and occupy the land that the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
(Deuteronomy 8:1-3 NRSV)
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”
(Luke 8:22-25 NRSV)
We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:19 NRSV)
The Lord has exalted His name and His Word above all other things. And in doing this, He has also regarded the lowly (which, truthfully, is all of us who are not Him). No matter what you may think about yourself, you, in comparison to God, are “lowly.” I realize that there are some haughty “Christians” who don’t like to use that word to describe themselves, thinking that, because they are Christians, that makes them better than others, more worthy than others. This is flawed thinking.
I am constantly drawn to one of those passages from Jeremiah, whenever I stumble across it (and can it truly be called “stumbling” when the Lord is leading us?). “Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Those who believe that they are more worthy than others because of their relationship with Christ are not boasting in the right thing. Do I have wisdom? Maybe, maybe not. But if I do, it is from the Lord. Do I have any might or power? In my thinking, not very much. But if I do, it is from God. Do I have wealth? Compared to many in this world, yes, quite a bit. But I do not boast in it. It comes from the Lord, and has been given me that I might share it.
Then there’s this other passage from Jeremiah 6. “Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”
I have been drawn, in recent years, to these “ancient paths.” I am drawn to seek out writings of people who were closer to the time of Christ; disciples of His disciples. I am most excited to be reading The Book of Concord, this summer, because it includes writings and confessions that predate the Reformation, even.
It seems to me that, the farther removed from Christ we become, the worse our “theology” gets. Things like “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” and “God helps those who help themselves.” One of the reasons I am excited about this “Bumper Sticker Theology” series at my church is exactly that. In fact, he said, Sunday, that one of the ones he will examine is “God is my co-pilot.” God had better be my pilot! I’m the co-pilot!
This rambles a little bit, today. I apologize for that, but it’s where my thoughts are going. God is good to all people, even the unjust, even the ones who refuse to acknowledge Him. He delights in steadfast love (chesed, also translated as mercy), justice, and righteousness. He has shown us, oh humans, what is good, and what He requires of us; “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” There’s that word again, chesed, this time translated as kindness.
Father, please help Your people display chesed among others in this world. Please help us to love, because You loved us first. Help us to love You with all our being, and to love others as You have loved us. You have shown us great kindness, great mercy, and You desire that we would do likewise. We don’t seem to be doing very well at that, these days. We have confused righteousness with forcing our way on others, and condemning them for not acting or thinking like we do.
Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Help us to stop our boasting, and to be sure that we truly know You. Help us to seek the “ancient paths,” and to shun modern “theology” that has no basis in Scripture. Teach us Your ways, so that we can walk in Your truth, not in the “truth” of human teachers.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. O, Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace. (Agnus Dei)
The Jeremiah 9 passage reminds me of this song by a group that I really used to like. I still like them, I just don’t’ think they are active anymore.
Grace and peace, friends.