Today is Thursday, the eighth day of June, 2023, in the second week of Ordinary Time.
May the peace of Christ surround you, today!
My Wordle for today:
Wordle 719 4/6*
Sometimes, I sit and stare at the puzzle (and the remaining letters available) for a few minutes, and then the word just comes to me. My streak is at five days. Yesterday’s word was “hater.”
Yesterday’s day at the library was wonderful. It was quite busy for most of the day. Summer (unofficially) is up on us and Summer Reading Club is in full swing. (I have 1924 minutes racked up, as of last night.) We had a Magic Show program, yesterday afternoon, so most of the book returns were done inside. Our inside book drop overflowed several times. Then, suddenly, at around five o’clock, it just died, and was pretty quiet for the last hour. I told one of the librarians that the whole day went faster than the last hour.
This morning, I have an appointment at the eye doctor at 10:00. They want to do another one of those “field of vision” tests. I really don’t like that one. I’m so scared that I’m going to miss the little blips of light or squeeze the trigger when there aren’t any blips. He says I have the beginning stages of glaucoma, so he wanted to test me again. Nothing really to worry about, yet, though. Probably not even enough to start any kind of treatment.
S has a Club Metro event, tonight, as well, so C and I should have a nice evening out while she does that.
The Texas Rangers lost a tough one, yesterday. The Cardinals beat them 1-0, on a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning. Jon Gray (6-2) pitched nine innings and struck out twelve batters! How many times has that happened and the pitcher still lost the game? It’s almost like the offense decided to take a break because the pitcher had this one. I know it’s not like that. It just seems like it. What really hurts is that the Cards pitcher walked the bases loaded in the first inning, and the Rangers couldn’t score! That’s how the whole night went. In the bottom of the ninth, Bochy brought in Adolis Garcia to pinch hit. He promptly struck out on three pitches.
The Rangers are now 40-21, in first place in the AL West, still 4.5 games ahead of the Astros. They have today off and are traveling to the worst baseball stadium in the history of ever, to play the MLB-leading Tampa Bay Rays for the weekend.
The Boston Red Sox also lost, last night, 5-2, to the Cleveland Guardians. Kutter Crawford (1-3) took the loss for the Sox. They are back at .500, 31-31, in last place in the AL East, 3.5 games behind the Blue Jays. They play the Guardians again tonight, at 7:10 ET, in Cleveland. Matt Dermody (0-0) will start for Boston.
Tampa Bay won again, and is now at 45-19, leading MLB. Texas remains in second place, overall, with 40-21. Oakland has won two in a row, but remains last in MLB, with 14-50. Miami now has a six-game winning streak, while Detroit and the NY Mets both have five-game losing streaks. The Rangers only lost by one run, so their differential of +154 still leads MLB, as does their 386 total runs scored. Oakland’s differential now stands at -200.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalms 86:4 NRSV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the animals that frequent my back yard (cats, raccoons, possums, and the occasional fox)
- that the Lord continuously gladdens my soul
- that our God is making all things new
- that, while everything that is seen is temporary, what cannot be seen is eternal
- that if we love one another, God dwells within us
- that God wins (be careful, though, as that may not mean what some of you think it means)
The hope of the righteous ends in gladness, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28 NRSV)
Lord our God, we wait for you night and day. We believe in you and we long for your righteousness. You will answer our prayer. Bless us, we pray. May your name be kept holy and your kingdom come. O Lord our God, may your will be done among the nations. May your will be done in each of us and be plainly seen, as it is in heaven. Look upon the nations. Watch over all humankind. Let a new path be broken so that a peace that passes all understanding may come, a peace from you, the Lord our God. Amen.
O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3 NRSV)
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalms 57:5 NRSV)
Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord GOD of hosts; do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, O God of Israel. (Psalms 69:6 NRSV)
“Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
(Mark 13:35-37 NRSV)
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth. (Psalms 96:11-13 NRSV)
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now and so it shall ever be, world without end. Alleluia. Amen.
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)
If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5 NRSV)
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”
(Revelation 21:5 NRSV)
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NRSV)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:3-4 NRSV)
No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
(1 John 4:12 MSG)
I have a confession to make. I hate losing. This is not a new revelation. And I seriously doubt that I am alone in this. Even the Oakland Athletics probably don’t like losing.
But it’s more complicated than this. There are a few games I play on my phone. Not a whole lot, but a few. One of them, I have a severe love/hate relationship. It’s called Golf Clash. In Golf Clash, you play a hole of golf against another person. Whoever sinks the ball in the fewest number of shots wins. However, if there is a tie (which there is 90% of the time), a “shootout” happens. A par-three hole is presented, and whoever gets closest to the hole in one shot wins the match.
My win percentage over the thousands of games that I have played is currently 51% (might be 52, I’m not certain). Most people’s percentage is close to this. Rarely, we might see someone who has a win percentage over 60%. This means that most of us lose approximately half of our games.
But I hate losing. Especially more than one match in a row. I hate it so much that I take it personally, and decide that the app has it out for me and is constantly favoring the other player. If this goes unchecked, it can ruin my day.
The Rangers lost last night. I didn’t lose, but it felt like I did. And the tendency, if not avoided, can run in the direction that I saw one person comment on the Book of Face, this morning, that “The Rangers usually fade after the all-star break. They’re starting early this season.”
Dude. That was one game. They had won five in a row, and had just scored thirty runs over three games against the Mariners.
But we hate losing. I still remember that World Series game in 2018 between the Red Sox and the Dodgers. It went 18 innings, with the score tied at two. In fact, the score was tied at one each until the 13th inning! Finally, in the bottom of the 18th inning, the Dodgers scored the winning run.
Thousands of people threw their hands up in the air and felt like giving up. But the Sox (who eventually won the series 4-1, that 18-inning game being the only one they lost) were already up 2-1, at that point.
We just don’t like losing.
What is the point of all of this? Partly it is because of my reaction to last night’s game. It was rapidly heading in the same direction as the person who declared that they were already fading. I managed to catch myself, though, and remind myself that they won the series against the Cardinals, just as they have won the last six or seven series in a row. It’s just one game.
The old saying, “You can’t win ’em all,” isn’t quite true. You most certainly CAN win them all. But you won’t. The odds are most definitely NOT in your favor.
Just like I can’t win all of those wretched Golf Clash games. I can barely win half of them. And it’s not personal when I lose. Also, in reference to that verse from Jeremiah about running with horses, if I allow things like a baseball game and Golf Clash to get to me that much, how am I going to fare in real life??
Life is similar. We win sometimes, and we lose sometimes. But guess what! God is making all things new! And, at the end of the book of Revelation, he wipes away every tear from our eyes. Death, mourning, crying, and pain (and, I assume, losing?) will be no more!
God wins. We win. Forever.
So, in whatever it is in which you are losing, right now, whether it be as silly and trivial as Golf Clash, or it be as serious as a divorce or a terminal illness, have faith in God. He wins.
Father, I praise You that You, in and through Jesus Christ, are making all things new. I am so grateful that my inner nature is being renewed, day by day, even though my physical body (along with its mind) is gradually wasting away. The truth that this “momentary affliction” is preparing us for “an eternal weight of glory beyond measure . . .” I don’t even have any words to follow that up with! It raises a song of praise in my heart!
I praise You that death and mourning and crying and pain will be no more, eventually. Along with those things, what I also perceive will pass away is the temptation to sin. And I cannot even fathom the idea of not desiring to sin, occasionally. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy sin, when it is happening. And anyone who claims that they don’t is also lying. If it wasn’t enjoyable, we wouldn’t do it, right? But, on that day when all of those things pass away, we will not even experience temptation any longer, and that completely boggles my mind and soul.
So, Father, help me when I lose, to not embrace the negative attitude surrounding it. Regardless of whether it is a silly game or a serious life situation. Help me to “keep my chin up” (I really am not fond of that phrase, but there it is) and trust in You, because You are making all things new, and “this, too, shall pass.”
I long for Home, Father, for that day described at the end of Revelation. And I love the way one of my favorite poets, Daryl Madden, describes it as and “eternal moment . . . of pure unfiltered love within the trinity.” That’s what I’m looking forward to, Father. That “eternal moment,” and the eternal dance with the Holy Trinity, love beyond reason, love that we have never experienced in all of our earthly lives, love that we cannot even begin to fathom.
All glory to You, Lord, through the Son, and by the Spirit!
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers!
Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. (Romans 11:36 MSG)
Grace and peace, friends.