Good morning. Today is Monday, the twenty-eighth of February, 2022, in the eighth week of Ordinary Time.
Peace be with you!
Today’s header image is provided by photographer Paul Militaru. Please check out his other photos at the link provided.
It’s been a busy morning, already. I’ve got two loads of laundry going, I’ve already vacuumed the floors (okay, so the robot did that), and I’ve scheduled an electrician to come to the house between 11-2 today, to check out the light fixture that quit working and install a ceiling fan in the bedroom. That quit on us a couple weeks ago, and it appears that the motor just finally gave out. That ceiling fan is also as old as the house, having been installed when the house was built in 1999.
So, now, I’m finally getting around to my blogging. As for what else is planned for today, nothing, at the moment. I don’t even know what I’m having for lunch. Still drinking my coffee.
Tomorrow, our A/C tech is supposed to stop by and discuss possible system replacement for our house.
We could potentially be spending a boatload of money this week. But, as I told the A/C tech last week, we have no plans to leave this house anytime soon. It’s our home, not an investment.
Yesterday, I got us tickets to see the production of Oklahoma! at Bass Hall in June. I’ve been wanting to see this, and it says that it has been “reimagined” for the twenty-first century. That would scare me, but it also said that none of the words have been changed. Should be interesting. That will be on Sunday, June 26.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Lord, I dedicate this day to You. May my feet walk only where You want them to walk. May my eyes see only what You want them to see. May my ears hear only what You want them to hear. May my mouth say only what You want it to say. May my mind think only what You want it to think.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for that strong tower, where I can run and be safe 2. that because of the work of Christ (and ONLY that work), I am considered "righteous" 3. for the example of the "prayer of prayers" that Jesus gave us, a complete prayer that covers everything we need 4. for the promise of the second coming of Jesus and the hope that it gives us 5. for sunshine and mild temperatures
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.
As Simone Weil’s treatment of the “prayer of prayers” comes to a close, she looks at the final statement in the older translations, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (or “from the evil one”). The bit about “Yours are the kingdom,” and so on, was added later on.
So we have contemplated, through this prayer that Jesus gave us, God’s name, His kingdom, and His will. We have petitioned for our “daily bread,” both physical and spiritual, and we have been purified from evil through forgiveness of sin. Now, says Simone, “the soul is ready for that true humility which crowns all virtues. Humility consists of knowing that in this world the whole soul, not only what we term the ego in its totality, but also the supernatural part of the soul, which is God present in it, is subject to time and to the vicissitudes of change.”
Okay, so I had to look up vicissitude. I am familiar with the word, but what, exactly, does it mean? “A change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.” And it is true. Our soul must be ready to accept the fact that not everything is always going to be “okay.” Yet, on the other hand, everything is always “okay.”
“The Our Father contains all possible petitions; we cannot conceive of any prayer not already contained in it. It is to prayer what Christ is to humanity. It is impossible to say it once through, giving the fullest possible attention to each word, without a change, infinitesimal perhaps but real, taking place in the soul.”
I find myself in full agreement of these words. And it makes sense. If Jesus gave us this prayer, telling us to “Pray then like this,” (whether we are supposed to pray it verbatim is, in my opinion, irrelevant), then the prayer must be quite perfect, right?
I would highly recommend the practice of repeating this prayer slowly, paying attention to each word or phrase, letting it sink into the soul. And then, after learning it more deeply, take the daily requests that you have to pray and work them into the phrases of the “prayer of prayers.”
In Symphony of Salvation, in the chapter on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, entitled “Taut & Joyful Expectancy,” the theme seems to center on one of the most distinctive details of the Christian faith, that being the second coming of Christ. “From the day Jesus ascended into heaven, his followers lived in expectancy of his return. He told them he was coming back. They believed he was coming back.”
We continue to believe this today. Peterson highlights this passage from 1 Thessalonians.
And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master’s word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 MSG)
“The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope. For if the future is dominated by the coming again of Jesus, there is little room left on the screen for projecting our anxieties and fantasies.”
One word of caution, though. It is my opinion that this passage eliminated entirely the popular concept of “rapture.” I have not believed in the “rapture” for at least a couple of decades, now. I don’t believe the Bible teaches the idea at all, that a group of living people will be taken away from the earth before any kind of “tribulation” occurs. And this passage in 1 Thessalonians seems to validate that. The dead in Christ will be resurrected before any who are still living are “caught up.” It is my opinion that this is the second coming of Christ, and that there will not be a separate event called a “rapture.”
So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
(2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 MSG)
Father, I am grateful for the promise that Jesus gave to His disciples (and to us, by default), that He will return. I am thankful for the words of Paul, regarding His return, words that give us hope, especially in times like these, when the world seems to be falling apart in front of us.
I pray for the insanity that I see in this world, right now. Madness in Europe, as well as insanity in my own home state and others around it. I pray for wisdom in leaders and elected officials. I pray for Your intervention in scenarios where people’s lives are threatened. And I pray that Your people, Your Church, would rise up and provide compassionate relief to the downtrodden and hopeless, rather than shoveling hatred and judgment on people who need hope and love. Help us, O God, to live and walk in the words and steps of The Word, The Way, The Truth, and The Life, Jesus Christ.
I thank You for the prayer that Jesus gave us, and ask that You give me more understanding and wisdom around it. Help me to remember that this prayer can be the basis of anything for which or about which I need to pray. Help us to live in prayer, and to, as Paul admonishes us, “pray without ceasing.” To me, what this means, is that I need to be praying like I breathe, constantly being aware of Your presence around me and my need for Your grace and mercy in my life.
All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!