Daily Devotions

Though we are not meeting face to face, we remain united in Christ in whom we dwell, we continue to be the Church, the body of Christ, called as witnesses to the Gospel. May we be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit as we engage in devotions and study.

Pastor Kathy

Sunday, August, 2, 2020

Contemplate the wonder of creation.

The Gospel of Creation

Martin Luther

“Now if I believe in God's Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. ...God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”

How important it is, when we say that we believe in Christ, we also realize that Christ abides in us and also in our brothers and sisters.  Other human beings should appear ever more beautiful than on any given day when we treat Christ’s abiding presence in humanity with nary a care or a nod.  Perhaps, if we could bring Christ to mind more often in our dealings with and regard for others, the world might become a more just and peaceful place.

During the time of the pandemic, Greg and I have taken local road trips, usually on Friday afternoon or evening as that is our “normal” day off – not to get out of our cars and visit or converse or do anything spectacular, but just to see the countryside.  We travel paths that we normally wouldn’t or haven’t in a while observing the change in growth of farm crops, spotting hawks in trees, sometimes watching storms rolling in.  It is a time to spend more quietly with one another, without attention to work, but it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the world God has made, the Gospel of creation.  Often, we don’t take that time, because we “don’t have the time,” unless we are specifically on vacation.  Those couple of hours every week have become very special, a benefit or teaching from the pandemic that I hope continues.

Creator God, there is such beauty in everything that you have made, the things of nature, to be sure, but also our brothers and sisters whom you created in great diversity and beauty.  Help us not to take the Gospel of Creation for granted, but appreciate its wonder, particularly the wonder of humanity.  Amen.

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 Saturday, August 1, 2020

What is the Good News today?

Gospel

Martin Luther

“A gospel that doesn't deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all.”

How often we like to ignore the things of the world when we think about the gospel, the Good News of Jesus, and yet, as Luther reminds us, they are, or at least should be, inextricably linked.  We call the scriptures the Living Word because they are not static, not left to become stale, tied only to the context in which they were written.  The Living Word speaks to us new every time we read it as our own selves and the context in which we live changes, including “the issues of the day.”

So often, people have commented that addressing what is happening in the world, the societal issues on the front page, through the biblical study and discussion, or through preaching brings politics into church.  I believe that what is often misunderstood, is that allowing the Gospel to inform us and transform us for the sake of God’s work in the world, God’s mission for the world, is exactly the purpose of the Gospel.

Jesus, himself, could be very political when it came to the care and treatment of people, particularly those on the margins who were victims of ridicule, prejudice, oppression and injustice.  That’s why what he did to heal them and advocate for them was Good News. Luther spoke out against some of those very same issues, especially the exploitation of the poor by the church itself.  Halting their being taken advantage was Good News.

The Gospels have some very stern messages about the “political” or “societal” issues of the day, as do so many of the epistles of Paul.  Perhaps the reason that we are so “shy” about letting such scripture address the ills of current society, is that once we are informed, we might be transformed, and that isn’t always a welcome event, because once we are transformed within ourselves, there is a responsibility to speak and act out of that transformation.  If, however, we choose to become ostriches who stick our heads in the sand and ignore the strong word and Jesus’ call to be witnesses to the Gospel, even in, or maybe especially in the face of the challenges of community, country, and world events, then the Gospel remains just stale words written a long time ago.

Good and Gracious God, you sent your son for the sake of the world – to teach, to heal, to die and to rise again.  Often, his ministry involved strong messages and calls to change the familiar customs and traditions for the sake of your will, your love, your justice, your intention for the world.  Help us to be open to the Living Word, the Gospel of Jesus that it might transform us for proclaiming that Good News through our words and actions, not just in and for the comfortable church, but for the sake of the whole of creation.  Amen.

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Friday, July 31, 2020

In whom/what do you place your trust and confidence?

Idolatry

Martin Luther

“Not only the adoration of images is idolatry, but also trust in one's own righteousness, works and merits, and putting confidence in riches and power. As the latter is the commonest, so it also is the most noxious.”

During the time that Luther took refuge in Wartburg Castle, one of his early followers, Andreas von Karlstadt, along with Thomas Müntzer started an iconoclastic movement in Wittenberg.  They had a strict interpretation of the commandment forbidding the creation of any graven image and went about the city destroying churches’ stained glass windows, altars with carvings, pictures, crucifixes, and any other religious statues claiming that they were idolatrous symbols.  The havoc that Karlstadt and Müntzer created drew Luther out of hiding.  He wanted to come and care for the people who were cowering in fear of the iconoclasts.  He also wanted to provide care and instruction for the people that they would understand properly how to deal with images.  To do this, he preached what are called the Invocavit sermons during the week after the first Sunday in Lent (which historically has been called Invocavit or Quadragesima Sunday).  In these sermons, he taught people about how change should occur in the church: not by violence or force but by the work of the Word and the conviction of the Gospel.

I’m not certain that today’s quote is in reference to that time, but it certainly would fit.  It would have been appropriate for Luther to be addressing Karlstadt who had become arrogant regarding his theology and provoked violence in the community.  Luther could have rebuked him for his self-righteousness in the destruction of the religious images and his works while his very own works and power had become idols themselves, and noxious they were indeed.  Luther talked about how we approach images or ideals.  If they become objects of worship as important as or in place of God, then they are idols and are harmful.  If, however, things such as a crucifix or Bible stories communicated through pictures or windows that help to fortify our faith as you use them to assist your devotion to God, then meditate on them giving thanks and glory to God.

We have plenty of idolatry going on today.  We devote great effort, time, and admiration to houses and other buildings, belongings, sports figures, celebrities, money, just to name a few.  And then, there are those things that are less recognizable that Luther mentions – trust in our own righteousness, works, merits, accomplishments.  Finally, there is our bent for putting confidence in riches and power, both our own and that of others, even when such power may be wielded in mistreatment and injustice toward particular people or groups of people.  Sometimes, we don’t even realize that our support of certain systems or institutions feed the power imbalances that exist around us that are both common and noxious in nature.  We often, without thought or intention, simply allow the things of the world to usurp the power of God in our lives.

Perhaps, the way that we need to address such idolatry, is by following what Luther suggested about bringing change to the church, and I would add to society today - not by violence or force, but by the work of the Word and the conviction of the Gospel.  If we can hold those two things as our center, if we can take them to heart, allowing God’s power to reside in us and through us, think about how the world might change for the better.

God, we often have so many other gods before us tempting us to put our trust and confidence in them rather than in you, first and foremost.  Help us to look to you as our one and only true God, the source of power to work for your good, your justice, your peace in the world around us.  Amen.

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 Thursday, July 30, 2020

Who comes to mind when you encounter the word “neighbor?”

Love of Neighbor

Martin Luther

“There can be no be no better instruction... than that every man who is to deal with his neighbor to follow these commandments. 'Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them,' and 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' If these were always followed, then everything would instruct and arrange itself; then no law books nor courts nor judicial actions would be required. All things would quietly and simply be set to rights, for everyone's heart and conscience would guide them.”

We have certainly been made more acutely aware of the needs of our neighbor during the last few months: as we’ve seen those who were on the margins before the pandemic struggle even more with the issues of homelessness, hunger and health care; as the witness of the injustices and oppression of people of color has come to the forefront, exposing deep-seated systemic racism and white privilege; as essential workers have served at great risk, often for extensive hours/days, while not having appropriate equipment and protection; as name-calling, mudslinging, and divisive rhetoric has become a standard in our communication with others.  Where is the love of neighbor?

We might begin by asking, “Who do we consider our ‘neighbors’?”  Are they only those people with whom we agree?  Those who look and act like us?  Those who believe in the same way we do?  Those of only certain ethnicities, races, creeds, gender orientations?  Remember the parable that Jesus told in answer to that question?  It was the story of the Samaritan – someone hated by Jews (and vice versa) – who showed care for the man, likely a Jew, lying beaten in the ditch.  Our neighbors are not just those who live right next door or down the street, people whom we like, but rather all people who share this planet.

What would it be like if we exercised love for the neighbor, treating others as we would want to be treated, not just in being kind or friendly to one another, but in truly doing for them what we would want done for us?  It would mean that regardless of the color of one’s skin, one’s social status, one’s gender or gender orientation, all people would experience the same justice, the same freedom, the same pay for the same job done.

It would mean an end to racism and white privilege, to injustice and oppression, to our benefit on the backs of those on the margins.  Or as Luther put it, “…then everything would instruct and arrange itself; then no law books nor courts nor judicial actions would be required. All things would quietly and simply be set to rights, for everyone's heart and conscience would guide them.”

To bring all that about, however, takes risk: the risk of change; the risk of rejection; the risk of injury, and in some cases one’s life.  Today the funeral for civil rights leader andcongressman John Lewis was held, someone who put his life at risk in the civil rights movement.  More than one of the speakers at the service recalled Mr. Lewis’ quote:  "Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”  We need to be willing to speak out, make some noise and get into good trouble, necessary trouble, for the sake of Jesus’ call for us to love our neighbors.

God of Love and Justice, open our eyes to see all people as our neighbors, as people that you created and that you love.  Then, let us “get into good trouble” as agents of change with love of neighbor as our aim so that others might be treated as we would like to be treated ourselves.  Amen.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

As you prepare for today’s devotion, take a minute or two to simply silent yourself to the distractions of the world around you.

Prayer

Martin Luther

“No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.”

In conversations regarding prayer, it is often wondered why we bother to pray if there is a plan laid out.  If things are meant to be a certain way, then why waste words in order to change things.  Yet, I don’t believe that is how things work.  We aren’t puppets on strings that God dances across a stage.  We are given the ability to make choices, for good or for ill, and we live with the consequences of those choices, pleasant or unpleasant.

Perhaps, then, we should think of prayernot so much as calling upon God to deliver according to our wants, to change things according to our will or our ways, but more of a conversation between us and God.  We can confidently make our hearts known to God.  And when we don’t have the words, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  Then, we await God’s answer, which may or may not take the form of what we wanted or expected.  Sometimes, God’s answer comes not in the way of changing the situation, but by changing something in us.  Maybe that’s why Luther noted that “God sometimes delays.  It may take time for us to be ready to receive the answer.  Often it involves opening our eyes to something different or new, a response that teaches us about God’s will for us and we are all the better for it, even if, in some cases, it may not be easy or pleasant.  And, as Luther said, when we pray honestly and earnestly, we might expect to receive more than expected. 

God Who Listens, we know that you hear our prayers.  Help us to be steadfast in our relationship and conversations with you.  Open our ears, our hearts, our eyes, and our hands to receive what you have to grant us.  Amen.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Take some time to simply breathe.

Grace, Not Anger

Martin Luther

“Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen”

I’m sure that Luther became angry, especially when he saw the church exploiting the peasants in various ways, for example, by selling letters of indulgence.  He was not happy with the pope and hierarchy of the church.  His anger is likely what prompted him to speak out as he did – to write and preach what he did, but it was more of what we would refer to as righteous anger.  Anger for the sake of justice and change is one thing, but Luther warns us about letting such anger, particularly when it becomes resentment or bitterness, “reign over us.”  While there are times when we can’t help but be angry, perhaps rightfully so, we can’t let such feelings control us in the long term.  There are even studies that show how hanging on to anger and bitterness can be the source of physical ailments.

During our current circumstances, there are certainly many things that we can and should be angry about – people, especially young people, being exploited through human trafficking; the injustices related to racism; lack of health care for those on the margins – just to name a few.  It’s understandable that such issues get our dander up, but we must use that anger to bring positive change.  That is where grace comes in.

Meeting anger with anger, using violence only serves to escalate situations or keep people from seeing/understanding what is at the heart of the issue. Rather than venting anger in a negative manner, or allowing it to turn into bitterness, we can let that emotion be what motivates us to sit down with one another to listen and to understand each other better.  Perhaps if folks would call on God’s grace to bring to the table attitudes of kindness, friendliness, generosity, then such positive change could be achieved. 

God of Grace, you show is grace in all that we do.  Help us to find ways of extending that grace to others as we face the challenges around us.  Amen.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Imagine letting go of something heavy as you open your hands.

Body and Soul

Martin Luther

“Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body.

We have surely dealt with heavy thoughts over these last five months.  Take a moment to recall the heaviness of hearing that we would have to stay isolated for two to three weeks.  People were panicked as they crowded store aisles in preparation with the result that shelves were emptied.  Here we are, months down the road.  Though some isolation still exists, many restrictions have been lifted.  Some of the panic has abated and groceries are more abundant and easier to obtain.  Yet, there is a heaviness that remains, partially from the recent increase in cases of the last few weeks that make us wonder what is next and whether we will ever beat this, but also from everything else that has transpired during this time – unrest in the streets, political divisiveness, along with the everyday disappointments and frustrations such as non-COVID illness and the loss of family members.  Just think about how people who are fighting all these things on the frontlines might have heavy thoughts, heavy hearts, and how that is affecting their physical well-being.

My heaviness these last few days was having my laptop’s hard drive fail.  Yes, I lost everything.  Fortunately, I had a majority of files (but not everything) backed up on an external passport drive.  My soul was initially oppressed, but I realized that it wasn’t the end of the world, and that if I continued to dwell on the misfortune, I would only make myself feel worse both emotionally and physically.  I needed to realize that I am fortunate to have what I still have, not just a repaired laptop and some back-up, but all the other things that have made life more comfortable in recent months.  More importantly, I have family and friends in whom I can confide, folks with whom I can laugh and cry, people who bring joy and balm for my soul.  All of that, of course, comes to me by the grace of God, who is the great healer, the great provider, the one who watches over us, body and soul, every minute of the day.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”Whatever we face, we know that we can lay our burdens down at the feet of Jesus and find rest for our souls.  Such rest brings a time for the renewal and healing of not just our souls, but our bodies, as well.  Take some time to give over to God whatever is weighing you down, knowing that God cares for you, loves you, and wants the best for you.

Almighty God, when we are heavy in heart, when our spirits are oppressed, help us to remember that we can cast our burdens on you.  Let us also reach out to those around us in the giving and receiving of joy and consolation, for the people in our lives are all gifts of your grace.  Amen.

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Pause and sense God’s presence around you.

God’s Presence

Martin Luther

“For God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, he is behind you and before you. Do you think he is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? He is watching over you and protecting you.”

Sometimes, in the face of challenges, tribulation, even what we might name evil in the world, it does not mean that God is not present.  It might be difficult for us, as we see people dying or experiencing long-lasting effects of COVID-19, or people of color being oppressed or even killed at disturbing rates, or young people being victims of human trafficking, to believe that God is present.

God IS present, not only through that ethereal presence of the cosmos, but also in and through us, God’s agents of co-creation and change in and for the sake of the world that God loves.  God does not sleep, but is behind and before us in everything that we do.  God is watching over us and protecting us whether we are waking or sleeping.  In all that we do, God is there.  And so, it behooves us to be and do that which God is calling us to be and do, to step out in faith and assurance that God’s got our back.

Ever Present God, we often struggle to see you in our midst, especially during difficult times.  Help us to trust, to have faith, to be assured that in all that we face, you are there.  Be with us as your agents of  justice and peace for the sake of the world.  Amen

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Where do you see Jesus? 

Faith and Love

Martin Luther

“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.”

Luther understood that we were saved not by our own human works or merit, but only by God’s grace in faith through Jesus Christ.  Faith is not something we can muster up, but rather is a gift that sprouts in us and brings us into relationship with God, with Christ.  It is by this conduit of faith that we are empowered to do as Christ commands.

One of the things that Jesus commanded more than once was to love our neighbors.  We do that by first seeing Christ in our neighbor.  It can be difficult to do sometimes, because we may not like what our neighbor does or says, yet God, even when God doesn’t like what our neighbor does (just as when God doesn’t like some of the things we do) continues to love that one.  It is then that we draw upon our faith and the grace God granted us to help us find that path to love.  It is by faith that we are able to do works of love for all of our neighbors, for they are as Christ to us.

God of Love, it can be so difficult to love in the midst of such challenging times.  Open our eyes to see others as you see them, your beloved creation.  Let us see Christ in them.  Help us through faith in you to reach out in love that positive change and healing might come to this world.  Amen.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Take a moment to lay before God any burdens. 

Grace

Martin Luther

“This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.”

Grace – God’s free and unconditional love and mercy for us – is what allows us to do and be the created beings as God intended.  From the fall in the garden, from that which we call original sin, it is only by God’s grace that we are saved.  With all of our foibles and shortcomings, in all the ways that we have turned from God, God does not forsake us.  God calls us to turn around, to turn back to God.  God forgives us and keeps us in watchful care.  With grace, we are free, then, to not just sit back in the darkness of all of our sin, but to come into the light of grace, to live in the assurance of God’s love for us no matter what.

It is in that freedom, that we can act.  Grace isn’t, as Luther reminds us, something that is asleep in our soul.  Grace should be the thing that drives us to share that same grace with those around us: in our listening without judging to those around us who are victims of injustice; to lead us in actions for the sake of those who are marginalized; to drive us in our advocacy; to draw us closer to God and to one another; to change our heart, minds and actions according to God’s will for us and the world.  The world will be witness to God’s grace in what we say and do.

God of Grace, we give you thanks that you continue to love us and show us mercy in the presence of such brokenness in ourselves and in the world.  Help us to act out of your grace for us that we might extend your grace, your love, your mercy to those around us.  Amen.

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

What are you grasping tightly – things, thoughts, ideas?

In God’s Hands

Martin Luther

“Now the Church is not wood and stone, but the company of believing people; one must hold to them, and see how they believe, live and teach."

It reminds me of the children’s song “I Am the Church.”  One of the verses is: “The church is not a building.  The church is not a steeple.  The church is not a resting place.  The church is the people.”  How true that has become in this time of a pandemic as it is not advisable to reenter our sanctuaries of wood and stone for the sake of the health of the people – the embodied church.

If we consider the early church, believers were on the move.  They didn’t have large buildings where they expected people to show up at the door.  Rather, they gathered in homes, or in the public spaces where people could see how they believed, lived, and taught. In Luther’s day, the newly invented printing press became instrumental in sharing his messages to others.  In these days, the “public square” is experienced through technology.  We need to be aware that people are still able to see how we believe, live and teach.  That doesn’t take a building.  In fact, unless people show up at the doors of a sanctuary, they wouldn’t witness such things any other way than by how we witness in public, whether in person “in the marketplace” or via the media public square.

While we are not meeting in person in the confines of four walls, we are still the church that has its witness.  How are we making that evident?  What are people seeing in us?  What messages are they receiving?  How can we still let people know what we believe in what we say, live and teach?  How can we remain connected as a believing body?  Many creative and gifted people have given us the means if only we would use them.

Almighty God, you have given us so many ways and means to share the Gospel, even when we can meet people in person – from writing cards and letters and sending them via snail mail, to making phone calls or having video gatherings.  Help us to remember that in whatever we say or do, people will see our witness.  May it be one that builds up rather than tears down.  Amen.

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 Saturday, July 18, 2020

What are you grasping tightly – things, thoughts, ideas?

In God’s Hands

Martin Luther

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.

Think about the things in life that we have held onto with all of our might, for fear of losing them, only to have that happen in the end.  Think about all of the things, the ways of life, the past practices that we have taken from us in the past months because of the pandemic.  Think about all the things that changed, taking us out of our comfort zone.  We have been challenged to let go of things to which we have been accustomed, ways that have defined our lives, even our white privilege in the face of the well-being of not just ourselves, but our brothers and sisters of the community, the country, the globe.

Yes, it has been difficult, frustrating, confusing, disappointing in so many ways.  That is why, as Luther indicated, we need to put things into God’s hands, rely on God’s Holy Spirit to comfort us, to inspire us, to lead us, and to empower us to deal with the challenges of this time.  In that way, that which is important will be sifted out.  All the things that were important by our selfish standards may vanish, but the people, things, and ideas that are of priority by God’s intentions will remain.  And then, we can be more truly settled in living out God’s purpose in and for our lives.

Lord God, help us to pray with open hands to release to you all that we may be gripping too tightly into your hands.  Lead us and guide us by your Holy Spirit to also receive into our open hands all that you intend for us.  Amen.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

On who/what would you stake your life?

Faith

Martin Luther

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it one thousand times. This confidence in God's grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in faith.”

How difficult it is to have such confidence in someone or something that we would stake our very lives it.  We might utter those words from time to time, “I’d bet my life on this/that.”  But, when it came right down to the wire, would we really?  Are there truly ideals or beliefs that we hold so dear, so firm that we could put our lives on the line for them?  I’m not so certain that I can be so sure, at least for myself.

I think that is what very often gets us into trouble.  We profess faith in God, we talk about living by God’s grace and God’s grace alone.  Yet, how often do we tire of waiting on God for answers to prayers – answers according to our will – and take it upon ourselves, by our own efforts and desires to bring something about only to have it fail or disappoint?  How often do we misplace our confidence in ourselves and the ways of the world, ignoring what God is calling us to be and do, only to end up unhappy or discouraged?

Luther reminds us that when we place our trust, our confidence in God’s grace, we find what we need to bring joy into our relationships with God and with others.  If we let the Holy Spirit lead us and guide us, our words and actions for the sake of God’s intent for us and all creation will not be misspent.

Faithful God, even when our faith wavers, when we trust in ourselves more that we trust in you, we know that you do not forsake us.  You remain ever present with us.  Help us always to turn to you first in all matters with confidence in your grace and in the Spirit’s work in us and through us.  Amen.

 

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Where do you see Jesus?

Christ in Our Neighbor

Martin Luther

"There are some of us who think to ourselves, 'If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!' Why don't we do it now? We have Christ in our neighbor.

I know that many places have Christmas in July celebrations or sales, so I thought that this was appropriate.  We focus so heavily on Jesus in the presence of a baby at Christmas time.  It is then that we celebrate The Incarnation, God taking on flesh and becoming one of us.  It seems, however, that our attention to that incarnation wanes as the season passes and we get further on through the year.

Yet, Jesus talks about abiding in us, dwelling with/in us.  If that is so, then he is right there before us all the time in the people who surround us – down the hall, across the street, in the market – wherever we go.  If we would’ve cared for the Baby Jesus in love, meet him in the presence of lowly animals, even willing to change his dirty diapers, why is it so hard not to care for so many of our neighbors in the same way, especially those who are marginalized, those who are oppressed?  Christ is still incarnate, living and walking with us and among us.

Heavenly Father, we give thanks that you sent your son to take on flesh, to become human, to be one of us.  Help us to recognize his presence in our midst, in our brothers and sisters with whom we share this planet, that we might serve them as we would serve Jesus himself as he walked the earth.  Amen.

 

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 Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Ponder all the things that you have learned in your life and how your learned them.

What Do You Know?  What Do You Do?

Martin Luther

"It's not what I don't know that bothers me - it's what I do know and don't do!"

What I don’t know can still bother us, but I think that Luther makes a good point.  It should bother us more, perhaps, that we can know something – what’s appropriate, what’s just, what’s good, what’s necessary – and not do it.

It has been interesting in conversations with colleagues with regards to the issues topping the list in our world today – racism, COVID-19, criminal justice, white privilege, just to name a few – as we try to determine what to say or do that will be helpful, that would make a difference. There are all kinds of resources that we can watch or listen to or read that will give us information about the issues or share the stories about those are most gravely impacted. But that’s just the start.  It is indeed necessary to learn, to become more knowledgeable, but to what end?  What will we do with that knowledge?  Knowing carries responsibility. How will it affect our actions?  Will we even take action?  What will we do that will make a difference? 

All Encompassing God, there is so much that we don’tunderstand in this world and things that we simply don’t know.  Give us the yearning for learning.  Help us to wonder and question, to seek knowledge.  Then, when we are graced with that knowledge, help us to use what we learn by taking action.  Lead us and guide us by your Holy Spirit.  Amen.