Today is Wednesday, the twenty-third of February, 2022, in the seventh week of Ordinary Time.
Peace be with you!
It’s currently 23 degrees outside, with “snow showers” imminent. Those are not the kind of “showers” we were supposed to pray for the other day.
It’s 63 degrees in the house, because, when I got home from “work” last night, the heat was not working. I got hold of our usual A/C people, who didn’t have any techs available until this morning. Whoever I was texting with tried their best to help me get it running last night, which involved multiple trips into the attic (and hurting something in my wrist in the process . . . probably a tendon or ligament, I don’t think I broke anything), but to no avail. I couldn’t find the tools I needed to do what is probably a fairly easy fix.
The good news is that our house is “warm-natured” and holds heat quite well. Too well, of course, as it is difficult to keep it cool in the summer. That’s why, after more than twelve hours of no heat, and sub-freezing temperatures, it is still over 60 in the house.
The tech is on his way, though, which is good news, and should be here any minute. Therefore, I am typing this blog on my laptop, in the living room, instead of back in the study. You shouldn’t be able to tell any difference. The difference will be for me, as the laptop has a touchpad, which, try as I might, I have been unable to deactivate, and the slightest bump of it can send the cursor flying off to parts unknown, and has been known to completely eradicate an entire page in a single bound. Wish me luck.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Let your light shine bright; You are the light of the world; Give glory to God! (Inspired by Matthew 5:14-16)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn; shout for joy before the LORD, the King. (Psalms 98:4-6 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
1. that our house holds heat really well 2. for the ability to contemplate the presence of God in my life 3. for the message of peace in the Gospel; Jesus really wants us to drop our differences and make things right between us 4. that, in the big picture, God does not play favorites; "the ground is level at the foot of the cross" 5. that, if I delight myself in the Lord, I can "fly;" that is, He will give me the desires of my heart 6. (written at the end) that our heat is on
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.
I’m continuing with the treatment of the “prayer of prayers,” by Simone Weil, from Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. Today, I’m looking at the simple phrase, “Your kingdom come.”
In this, we are asking for something yet to be accomplished, something that is not yet here. In one sense, we know that the kingdom of God has been here, ever since Jesus walked the earth. But in another sense, it is not yet here, or not yet fully accomplished. This, in itself, is somewhat of a mystery.
In this writer’s view, this involves the coming of the Holy Spirit. And, while she says we are inviting Him, we should not invite in a specific way, “to visit us or anyone else in particular . . . so that our thought of him is an invitation, a longing cry. It is as when one is in extreme thirst, ill with thirst; then one no longer thinks of the act of drinking in relation to oneself, or even of the act of drinking in a general way. One merely thinks of water, actual water itself, but the image of water is like a cry from our whole being.”
Again, this is the musings of what we call a mystic, and they are, at times, ponderous and confusing. However, I think I get this. It is similar, in concept, to what we call contemplation, in which all we do is think about God, Himself, and do not venture into any specific thoughts or requests.
So, to pray “Your kingdom come,” we are simply inviting God, in the form of His Holy Spirit, to be among us.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
(Psalms 63:1 ESV)
We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you. (2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG)
I’m telling you that if anyone comes with a different message than this, they are not speaking for God. God is in the business of reconciling. Yes, I know . . . Jesus said that He would divide even families, and He does. But He also comes, in general, to bring peace. And He demands peace and unity within His Church. He wants us to drop our differences and make things right between us.
For God shows no partiality.
(Romans 2:11 ESV)
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
(John 15:12 ESV)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:9-10 ESV)
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
(James 2:1 ESV)
I could wax eloquently (or maybe not so much) for days on this group of verses. But my main message, through this forum, is exactly this, and springs directly from the verse from The Message above that last purple line. God shows no partiality between Jew and Greek, male and female, and so on. Color of skin or country of origin matters not. And, contrary to current popular belief, the USA does not enjoy “favored nation” status with God! And we, the Church of Jesus Christ have a job. That job is explicitly given in Romans 12, above. Philippians 2:3 also adds to that.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
(Philippians 2:3 ESV)
I also like the way The Message puts this.
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
(Philippians 2:3 MSG)
The prayer word for today is “fly.” Orville Wright (surely I don’t need to tell you who he was) is quoted as saying “If birds can glide for long periods of time, then why can’t I?”
The simple answer is because you don’t have feathers or wings. But that’s not the point of this.
The idea is not so much about physical, literal, flying as it is excelling in something in our lives. Even “excelling” is a suspect word, there. It has to do with ambition and expectation; desire. And it is wrapped up in that little question, “Why can’t I?”
I could personalize this. If Dennis Jernigan can write worship songs, why can’t I? If Dallas Willard could be the quiet, contemplative, peaceful person he was, why can’t I? Of course, we can get carried away with this. There are some things I don’t want to do. Be president, for example. No thank you.
Here are the things I want to do:
- Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength
- Love my neighbor as myself
- Love the community of saints as Jesus has loved us
- Spark a love revolution
Why can’t I? The only person holding me back is me.
Father, why can’t I do these things? It certainly isn’t You holding me back. It is me, of course. If I cannot accomplish any of these things, it is because I am holding myself back. However, I do believe that I have made significant progress in these ventures, in the past couple of decades. I thank You for that.
I pray for Your Church today. I pray that we can succeed in doing what Jesus is asking of us, specifically, dropping our differences and making things right between us. Help me to be a leader in this, Father. And that goes back to my list of desires, doesn’t it? For, in order for those things to happen, I have to practice what I preach and “love one another,” unconditionally, the way You love us.
And, Father, help me to get back into the habit of daily praying for Your kingdom to come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.