Wait; Hope; Be Still and Know

“If the word God or the experience of God is tribalized or nationalized or privatized, it is falsified. A packaged god is no god at all.”

Today is Holy Saturday, the sixteenth of April, 2022, in the sixth week of Lent.

May the peace of Christ flood your soul today.

Day 23,410

Yesterday certainly didn’t feel like a day off work for either of us. But it was a good day. We picked up C’s friend (that she used to work with) at 11:30, and headed over to Posada’s for lunch. We had a great lunch, along with some great conversation, mostly M and C catching up on things. Then we went to the funeral, which was a great celebration of a good man’s life. A couple of his family members gave a great eulogy of his life and their experiences with him. The family was huge. There were more family members there than non-family members.

I intended to compliment the pianist who played, but didn’t get a chance to. He was very good, and during the prelude to the funeral, he launched into a minor-key variation of “Rock of Ages” that was phenomenal!

After the funeral, we took M home, then went to Tom Thumb, nearby, because I had accidentally ordered the wrong kind of fruit for my fruit pizza that I was planning to make to take to work today. We bought some other stuff while we were there, including some flavors of Nick’s ice cream that we had never seen before. I wish our Albertson’s carried more of those flavors!

I made the fruit pizza, and while I was putting all that together, C made our regular pizzas for dinner. I did not attend the Good Friday service, as I had already decided while we were on our way home from the funeral. There was no way I could have done it, after everything else. We watched one episode of a British series called Vexed (we are in season 2 of 2). Then we watched the Rangers almost beat the Angels. I say “almost,” because at one point they were ahead 6-2, but then gave up 5 runs in the very next inning, and 2 more later, to lose 9-6. In Boston’s home opener, the Twins beat the Red Sox 8-4.

The Rangers play the Angels again today, at 6:05 CDT, with Taylor Hearn taking the mound. The Sox play the Twins again, at 4:10 EDT, with Tanner Houck taking the mound for Boston.

I will be working from 9:30-6:15 today. We will be gathering at our house church in the morning, and we need to pick up some supplies for the Supper so we can have communion together.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

"O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
(The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Holy Saturday)

Know,” by Daryl Madden

I heard a soft whisper
Here, surrounding me
With peace in the quiet
Of simply to “be”

What should I do?
Surrender my will?
A comforting Word
Just simply “be still”

A rising desire
Of wisdom bestow
A simple lesson
“Be still and know”

What should I know?
To simply be awed
“Be still and know
That I am your God”

A prayer of perfection
This dialog shows
With patience and grace
His love overflows

I love this treatment of Psalm 46:10, one of my favorite verses. This my prayer, this morning, that, in all of my life, I could “be still and know.” Please support this poet by checking out his other poems at the link provided.

But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
(Isaiah 40:31 MSG)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the celebrations of life that this weekend brings
2. for Easter cookies
3. for hugs and the warmth that being loved can bring
4. for waiting, because it makes us trust in You while we are waiting
5. for the potential in my life to be stretched, as I look for new challenges, new people, and new experiences

The prayer word for today is “warmth.” The context appears to be that of being loved, and the need for human touch in our lives.

“The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.” ~ Oscar Wilde

The writer of the reading, Carolyn, speaks of her husband and his habit of hugging. I, too, am a hugger. I love giving hugs; I love receiving hugs. Hugs bring a warmth to one, that is almost indescribable. “For me,” says Carolyn, “warmth equates to love, contentment, and safety.”

I once felt as though I had received a hug from God. I will cherish that moment for all of my days, as I have never felt anything else like it.

(From Pray a Word a Day)

Father, may I not fail to give out warmth today, in the form of love and acceptance toward those around me. I pray that I might display Your great love toward others, as I walk through my day. Let them see it on my face; let them feel it radiating from me. And maybe there might be a hug or two, as well.

As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.
(Luke 23:55-56 NLT)

There are some very wise words, in today’s Guideposts reading, written by Logan Eliasen. “Waiting means acknowledging events aren’t under our control.” That made me do a double-take. He’s right, you know. When you are waiting for something, you do not have control over that thing, at that moment in time.

Last night, I had to wait a couple of times. First, I had to wait while the cookie dough cooked (for my fruit pizza). Then I had to wait for it to cool, before I could spread the cream cheese mixture over it. During those times of waiting, there was nothing I could do to speed things up. Those events were completely and utterly out of my control.

But then, Logan brings it home. “But waiting doesn’t mean events are out of control.” (emphasis mine) “Because, ultimately, God is in control.”

So simple, so true, and so profound.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
(Psalms 130:5-6 ESV)

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
(Lamentations 3:25 ESV)

(From Daily Guideposts 2022)

Father, help me to be a better “wait-er.” I don’t like waiting. Logan is right. It means that, while I’m waiting, I have no control over the thing for which I am waiting. Tom was also right. The waiting is the hardest part. I’ve waited for test results before. I remember struggle to sleep, while waiting on test results that would not be delivered in less than two weeks. That was excruciating, because I had no control over it; I had no control over the outcome. But, what I do have control over is my trust in You while I am waiting. Help me to trust in You when I have no control over things in my own life. Help me to only “worry” about things over which I have control, which is not much. I trust in You, Father. My times are in Your hands.

“If the word God or the experience of God is tribalized or nationalized or privatized, it is falsified. A packaged god is no god at all. This fact is not always easy to live with.”

Read that again. I will wait.

This is a serious issue, and the modern church (institution) in the USA is really struggling with this. Getting it to admit that struggle would be an entirely different thing.

“Our tendency, most of the time,” says Peterson, “is to reduce God to the dimensions of our lives and make him the custodian of our comforts. We get a piece of the gospel that makes us feel good, and we decide to specialize in that part, leaving out everything else.”

But if we want to be a “real church,” we can’t disregard others, as we like to do when we create our little like-minded groups and exclude others from them. (I’m stomping on my own toes, here, folks.)

“We have to reach out, letting our lives be stretched with new challenges, new people, and new experiences.”

(From On Living Well, by Eugene H. Peterson)

Father, I pray that You help us to not be guilty of reducing You and Your truth to the “dimensions of our lives.” I pray that we not be guilty of just hanging out with like-minded people and excluding others. I confess that this is very difficult. We get too comfortable, and we want to stay that way. Help me to stretch myself, as I walk in Your kingdom, and as I walk through this world. May the rest of this year be a benchmark year for me, Father. I am fully aware of what I am asking for. Well, maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m not aware at all, because I have no idea what is coming. But I am willing to wait for You and to watch for Your hand in my life as You move and act.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

As we move toward Resurrection Sunday, may we patiently wait for God, considering what the disciples endured during these couple of days that must have seemed like an eternity to them, having lost all hope. May we not lose hope; may we believe!

Grace and peace, friends.

Hope

Today is Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,675

Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow.

Yesterday was quite busy at work. Between working the unreceivables and my new task with SOS/Expedites, I was hustling pretty much all day. At the end of the day, though, it felt like it had been a good day.

I think I forgot to mention that our company bought us lunch Thursday. And while the first batch of us were eating (we can’t all eat at the same time, due to the “social distancing” rules), our manager told us that, as long as this was going on, lunch was on him one day a week. I have to admit I was shocked by that. Pleasantly, of course. I will probably miss the next “free lunch” (TANSTAAFL, remember), as I will be on PTO Thursday and Friday. While we have decided not to travel over the next weekend, we are still taking the vacation days.

We will have our weekly virtual WW workshop on Zoom in a little while. I’m not sure, yet, what weight I will report on the WW app, as I will wait until at least 10:00 to get dressed and weigh. But my “at home” loss over the past three months is 32.6 pounds! I’m also very close to a “benchmark.” Today, I weigh 302.8. I’m so close! I haven’t been under 300 pounds since 2013.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Before I get into the daily Scripture readings from The Divine Hours and other sources, I want to remind us of the fact that this day represents the single most hopeless day in all of history. Day or days, depending on your theory of when Jesus was actually crucified. While I observe it on Good Friday, I don’t see any logical way He could have died on Friday. There is no way to make the math work. But that’s a subject for another conversation. Today, I want to focus on what the disciples’ reality was on this day.

It is Saturday, the day before the Resurrection. Judas has already hung himself out of guilt over what he has done. The other eleven (and possibly more, as indicated in Luke 24.9 (the women returned and told “the eleven and all the rest”), were, apparently, in hiding somewhere. We aren’t really sure where, I don’t think, but it might be safe to assume that they were in the “upper room” where they had the last supper with Jesus. Can you pause today, for a few moments, and try to “get into their heads?” What might they have been thinking as they huddled together, in lockdown, in those days between the crucifixion and when Mary burst in to tell them the Good News?

Again, I say that this day must have been the most hopeless day in the history of mankind.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
(Psalms 31:24 ESV)

Today I am grateful:
1. To be seeing the faces of people in my Weight Watchers community on Zoom.
2. For the promise of hope, even when we feel hopeless.
3. That my times are in Your hand; all of them! (Psalm 31.15)
4. That Jesus has broken down any barriers that hinder us from seeking the Father.
5. That the mystery and terror of death are made bearable by Jesus.

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
(Psalms 71:2 ESV)

O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. My times are in your hand.
(Psalms 116:16; 31:15 ESV)

I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
(Psalms 31:22 ESV)

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

(John 19:31-42 ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

(Psalms 31:1-5 ESV)

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.

“Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that I, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 ESV)

“Jesus has completely eliminated any barriers that might hinder anyone seeking access to God–even our sin (10:17). Just as the temple curtain was torn in two at the moment of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:50-51), His crucified body has torn away all obstructions to God’s presence. There’s no barrier that need separate any believer from experiencing the glory and love of the living God.”
(Lisa M. Samra, Our Daily Bread)

Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
(John 19:39-40 ESV)

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
(Psalms 141:2 ESV)

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
(Proverbs 27:9 ESV)

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
(Psalms 48:9-14 NIV)

According to John 2.21, Jesus is our true “temple,” and “when we unite with him by faith we receive his Spirit and become a living temple in which God dwells” (see Ephesians 2.19-22).

When we “count her towers” (verse 12), we “thank God for the church and joyfully wonder at what [we] have become in Christ.” Then we can show generations to come the way to enjoy life in Christ, in the kingdom of heaven.

Verse 14 says that Jesus will be our guide “even to the end.” The end of what? Indeed, we see many “endings” in our lives, and the greatest of these is death. “Its mystery and terror are made bearable by the knowledge that Jesus will be with us, into death and out the other side.”

“Lord, I need to be melted by spiritual understanding of the greatness of what we have become in you. We are your flock, your dwelling, your body, your kingdom, your people, your love. Teach me how to love your church and fully participate in its life and mission. Amen.”
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

Father, as we sit at home on this day when the disciples were huddled together in despair, with no apparent hope to lead them on, may You appear to us, just as You did to them on the next day. Show us Your grace and Your power as we depend on You to get us through these dark, uncertain times. Make the mystery and terror bearable to us, and help us to clear our minds of anything that would hinder us from worshiping and loving You.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1.2

Grace and peace, friends.