Archive for February 21st, 2021
Sabbath Rest – A Day Planned for God (Day 5 will be tomorrow, Take time for the Sunday interruption)
Genesis 1 (NRSV)
Are you a Day-Planner person? To what degree do you plan: Hour-at-glance, Day-at-a-glance, or a Month-at-a-glance? Maybe you are happy keeping up with what month or season with your own system. The change in routines from this pandemic year has made us all question what day of the week it is a few times. But our task now to finding ways to be more intentional with God is essential to our spiritual journey, now and all life long. God creates with purpose as seen in
the first chapter of Genesis. Let this become our practice.
Look back over the past four calls to action. Have you acted upon these? If so, Praise the Lord! If not, take this holy day and review the calls to action: What will be your holy place for prayer and study during these days of the Lenten season? Name it and claim it and tell others your plan. What has so stained your heart and mind or spirit and attitude that it speaks of the hurt rather than of Christ in you?
Wash a load of clothes or the car, or take a bath as an exercise, not in work, but as repentance and cleansing. Think hard about the daily witness you share. Is your lack of joy the message to share with the world? Are your grumpy thoughts and words and non-verbal glares speaking of the power the Holy Spirit has to heal, forgive and love?
Rest: This is a day to rest from our labor and make certain we are working on the things God calls us to be and become. Put down the book and get to it. Be ready, this week will have new challenges.
Prayer: Dear God, I give you myself today. Thank you for giving us this time together. Help me not be distracted. Show me the way you would have me go. Let my rest be in your strength. Amen.
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you, I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. [NRSA: Psalm 25:1-10]
Psalm 25 has the remarkable perspective of showing us the heart of God and fruit of Jesus Christ yet it was written and used hundreds of years prior to the life of Jesus. That conveys that the message of Jesus at times revealed in the prophets signs to anticipate and here we find the presence of Christ shared in ordinary words for personal and collective worship.
FIRST: One of the important things to share with someone on a spiritual journey is this: The closer we get to God, we will also experience a closer connection with one another.
SECOND: Our second lesson that follows the first is that the closer we get to God and one another, the more we need to anticipate that those who seek evil and avoid God will challenge us all the more.
Let us step back and hear the joy and peace this psalm sings to us:
A Journey of Devotion begins with giving ourselves to God’s Work, Ways, and Will
- I offer you, my soul, O my God!
- in you I trust;
- ….because when I do: I expect some to tease, question, reject, and “put [me] to shame’
- …because my enemies and your enemies will hold your words over me.
- ….I ask you to put them to shame, those who will question my faithfulness and trust.
When we place ourselves in God, we soon see, learn, experience that we don’t know all about life, others, or ourselves. That is a vulnerable place. This is the place the many will believe with their words but not with their hearts and actions. (We follow Jesus but can check out when we want to.)
The Psalm writer reveals he goes a big farther with God:
- Make me to know your ways,
- teach me your paths.
- Lead me in your truth, and
- teach me,
- …. Images of the being the clay in the potter’s hands
- …..Begs the question “Do I have more to learn from God, from others, for others, for self?
Here is a beautiful affirmation that you and I take for granted in light of the cross and resurrection. The Psalmist has seen God’s strength and heart and knows salvation, hope, and life are not possible outside of God.
- you are the God of my salvation;
- for you, I wait all day long.
Retracing our steps, We can sing of salvation in God because we know God is faithful, God’s ways are true, and God alone, holds our salvation.
If these were the only words it would be remarkable to hear the people of God singing and reading these words in worship, not knowing the details of the witness, death and empty tomb of Jesus Christ. But God’s nature is revealed even more.
- Remember your mercy
- Remember your steadfast love
- Remember how you have shown us grace for generations.
- ….Don’t hold my youth against me
- ….Don’t hold my past over my head to keep me inline
- ….Don’t use my failures to leverage my faith.
- ….Learn and pray the sinner’s prayer each day: “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”
Some think of God we see and hear in the Old Testament as distant, mean, and harsh. This is not what Psalm 25 remembers.
- Remember your goodness
- Remember we need instruction
- Remember we need a guide to show us the way
In reminding God, we are also reminding ourselves that God is to be trusted with all that we are, even our past.
The way forward toward God is through Humility.
- Live a humble life
- Live a life following what is right
- Follow His Way.
It seems clear, why when Jesus says that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life that he confirms himself to be the living presence of Psalm 25. The Word made Flesh and living with us.
Here is is the times instruction for us to find and share Christ
- The paths to God’s heart are paved with covenants and decrees.
- Those Words are The Word, Jesus Christ, that we walk in our daily lives,
- is the presence of our Word, living with us.
To finish stitching this together:
We are confident in faith, when we are living in God’s Word and God’s Word is living in us.
Q1: When other people are around me, do they hear and see God Word? Not just scripture verse, but God shining hope, life, joy, and faith in the face of evil, enemies, or is that only the case when we gather for worship.
Q2: In this spiritual journey toward Easter, we make the journey already knowing what we will find. (Second visit to Disney World) Therefore, the JOURNEY is what’s different, the WORD we share, with the PEOPLE we meet, with GRACE God gives, will enable us to sing Psalm 25 as our own praise to God, and witness to the world.