Tag Archives: Choosing God

Bound by Joy

Eastertide
April 19, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
   my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
   or let your faithful one see the Pit.

 You show me the path of life.
   In your presence there is fullness of joy;
   in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
–Psalm 16:5-11

Many times, when I set out to write these devotions, I read the scripture for the day and think, “That about says it all. What more can I add?” Today is such a day. Of course, thinking that doesn’t stop me from trying to say more.

First, the stories of God found in the Bible including in its poetry, tell of one who wants to be chosen. God never forces God’s self on anyone even knowing that having a relationship with God is the best thing that could happen to anyone.

Second, the boundaries God provides for our protection are bountiful in opportunity. God created each of us with skills and talents but allows us to pursue our hearts desires within a wide spectrum of good options. Why are we always looking over the fence to see what we are missing and fail to see what is abundantly near at hand?

Finally, God prioritizes life with joy. Where do we find delight in life within the boundaries of God’s love? Those are the areas for our concentration. God is not a God of drudgery. God is Lord of the Dance. Any dancer will tell us that a lot of hard work goes into his or her performance but nothing replaces the joy of the dance that results.

Prayer: Lord, guide me to the well of joy planted deep in my heart. Help me to hone it and make it a source of joy for others. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Choosing God

Lent
March 19, 2017

Scripture Reading: John 4:5-42

The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. –John 4:19-23

Funny on how we can so easily reach agreement on that which we disagree and rarely take the time to build on that which we do agree. The Samaritans landed in Israel in the split of Israel and Judah after the death of Solomon. The temple was in Judah. Thus, over time, I guess, the Samaritans designated their own sight for worshiping God that was not recognized by the Judean side of the family. Thus, the subject matter for Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman reached back to this old breach. Jesus’ answer is very practical. The place and building does not matter. We worship God in spirit and in truth wherever we might be.

This mirrors the fight over prayer in school. Should it be allowed, should it be mandatory? The answer in a joke is “As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.” I do not know who originated it and apparently, no one else does. I heard it first from Frosty Troy a former local newspaper writer. The point is well taken. Our relationship with God drives how we relate to others. We can never make others relate to us as we might wish. I believe the Lord wants us to choose to relate to God who is omnipotent, all powerful, capable of creating us and surely capable of changing our will but chooses to be loved by choice.

The solutions to our problems lie in our ability to identify the issues on which we do agree and build on them. While there is much descent on whether we should provide necessities to people who lack them, we never seem to discuss the fact that if all workers earned a living wage the need to subsidize those wages with food stamps, child care subsidies, and to a degree Medicaid would markedly be reduced. If we put as much effort into identifying ways businesses could succeed and pay a living wage, we could stop wasting our time with legislation requiring people to work, many of whom are already working.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we let our pride or our greed or our need to always be right get in the way of fulfilling your call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Prevent us from making excuses, guide us to finding answers that provide justice for everyone. Amen.

For a better understanding of a living wage see http://livingwage.mit.edu/articles/15-minimum-wage-can-an-individual-or-a-family-live-on-it

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.