Today is Thursday, November 30, 2017. Day 21,812.
25 days until Christmas!
Mark Twain, born on this date in 1835 (died 1910), said, “Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”
The word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is nostrum, a noun, meaning, “a scheme, theory, device, etc., especially one to remedy social or political ills; panacea.” Also, “a medicine sold with false or exaggerated claims and with no demonstrable value; quack medicine,” and, “a medicine made by the person who recommends it.”
Today is Stay Home Because You’re Well Day. I have to say I love this one. Perhaps I’ll try it some day. But not today, because I’m all out of PTO for this year.
We used the new dishwasher last night, and it seems to have worked just fine. Interesting discovery: this washer has a “Sensor” setting, which allows the dishwasher to determine how long it should run based on the volume and dirtiness of the dishes. It takes, on average, two to three hours to run. I thought that seemed like a really long time, but when I consulted the guide book, I discovered that it does, in fact, have a “1-hour” setting, but that setting actually uses more water and energy than the longer cycle. Who knew?? So we will just be letting it do its own thing. It is also very quiet.
C made dinner for us last night, and already had it simmering when I got home from work. She’s doing better, for the most part, and has cut back to only a half pill of pain killer a couple times a day. I’m not sure when she will be going back to her actual work place, but she continues to work from home. The important things are the two appointments, Friday and Monday, at the different heart doctors.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
(From The Divine Hours)
Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
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.
The Lord’s Prayer
(From Practice Resurrection)
Eugene Peterson relates a personal experience from his days in Baltimore, where he moved to start a new church. As he sets the stage for this story, he takes note that, in spite of all of Paul’s talk of peace, there was a “conspicuous absence of peace in the world and in his life” as he wrote. Paul wrote (or dictated) Ephesians from a Roman prison cell. While he uses the “broken wall as a metaphor for church that welcomes all, church that is open to all, church that is hospitable to all, he is locked behind the walls of a Roman prison.” From the records that we have, we also know that the first century churches were quite full of contention. So what happened to that broken wall?
Peterson shift to a photo that he has on his desk, an aerial view of a community in the suburbs. Tract homes, each one fenced, each one with a swimming pool in the back yard. He had labeled the photo, “Meshech and the Tents of Kedar.”
When he was organizing the church in Baltimore, he was new to the ‘burbs. In his home town, they didn’t have many fences. People were free to walk across each others’ yards, and there was one community pool, where all were welcome. What he realized in this new suburb was that “everyone was a stranger to his or her neighbors.” As he began planning this church, he believed that the hard part would be getting the people to come worship God, and that developing a “sense of community would be easy.”
He was wrong.
“It wasn’t long before I had people worshiping God on Sunday mornings.” It was awkward, at first, to be sure, but people were willingly there. “But getting them interested in each other was another thing entirely. They didn’t want to be neighbors. They wanted to be self-sufficient, independent.” At one point, a newly formed community association had a meeting. Peterson attended, not sure what he would encounter. He was completely taken by surprise. “It was the most contentious gathering of people I had ever attended.” What he eventually realized was that “These people don’t like each other.” They didn’t really know each other, but what they didn’t know, they didn’t like. Every time someone spoke, there was an immediate challenge or refutation. The talk was all rude. (This reminds me a lot of Facebook.)
Now, back to the title of the photo. Remember that? Meshech and the Tents of Kedar. Peterson was taken back to Psalm 120. Verse 5. “Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!” The writer of the Psalm is surrounded by people who don’t want peace, who “hate peace” (verse 6).
That’s how he felt the night of that association meeting. His purpose was to develop community and get people to worship God, but he found himself in a place where “community” was the last thing people wanted.
Father, while I don’t like leaving this on a negative note, I pray that you would continue to work this sense of community into us. I have struggled with this. I barely know my neighbors, and the people who live more than one house away, I don’t know at all. I have been guilty, we have been guilty of that sense of “self-sufficiency,” and our time at The Exchange has changed that. We are still growing in that aspect, and I want to continue to do so. Make us more aware of the interdependence that we, your people, have with one another. We need each other. Help us to know that, and help us to help each other more.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.