My morning and evening prayers have me reflecting on pilgrimage. The Scripture reading this morning is about a significant and mysterious event in the childhood of Jesus. Mary and Joseph take him along on their family pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They then return home, or start to before they realize he is not with them. They had assumed, even taken for granted that he was in the crowd of pilgrims returning home. He was not.
Lectio 365 asks us to consider times we take for granted that Jesus is with us only to discover we have left him behind. For me I lose sight of Christ when I overlook my daily devotional practices and get lost in the crowd of people and things and busyness of the world.
Where do you find Christ in your daily life?
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Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13. 6-7, NIV).
Those who know me well know that I aim in all I say and in all I write to “speak the truth in love.” If we make accurate statements but do so in an abusive or hurtful way, we stand in the way of relationships, even a person’s relationship with God. If, however, we speak half-truths or are silent when we need to speak out, we can damage souls — both those of others and our own.
Speaking the truth in love is one of the greatest challenges we daily face as Christians, even as maturing human beings. When we do it well, we protect our relationships and our souls; we live with hope that dispels evil; and we stand firm in faith.
God of truth, Lord of love, speak through my words that I may stand against evil lies and build up your people in love.
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2 Thessalonians 1:3 (New International Version)
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have faith.”
― Paulo Coelho
Some days it takes me great faith to just get out of bed. My mind tries to convince me that I will do great damage to myself and possibly even others if I do. It makes no sense of course, but brain illnesses jeopardize sense and leave us squandering in fear, through no fault of our own.
The antidote to fear is faith. Not so much willpower that grasps for some inner strength to attain hope against hope. Faith is not a possession. It is a gift. Sometimes in comes in small packages, just enough to get out of bed and take a shower. Other times it comes in amazing, even miraculous doses — enough to transform our lives and to make a difference in the world.
When I was in seminary, I did a stint as a chaplain intern at a Women’s Prison. I was consistently moved by the faith of the incarcerated individuals who, when we opened worship for prayer would start, “I just want to thank the Lord for waking me up this morning.” Yes, they were still behind bars, some for most of their lives, but they were grateful for each breath they took.
Today I thank the Lord for getting me up this morning, for the refreshing rain that replenishes the earth, for this cup of coffee that is invigorating my mind, for all things that add moments and meaning to my life.