Monday, January 24, 2011

Be still. Be blessed.

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
(Poet Mary Oliver)

Father, I know that feeling. Not a mountaintop experience, it’s usually understated: When the kids are home for a visit. When the bright morning sun slices through the trees in the backyard. Watching the cardinals on the birdfeeder (with a glass of wine) at day’s end.

Am I missing other moments like that?

…the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10:7)

Lord Christ, you use that phrase throughout Matthew. Despite my theological confusion, the kingdom must be closer than we think. Occasionally, we pierce the veil. Maybe it’s an experience: in nature, sharing love, a flash of joy. Maybe it’s an intention: an act of service, fidelity to your teaching, trusting your promises.

Am I missing other moments like that?

It is not the happy people who are thankful. It is the thankful people who are happy. (Bishop W.H. Frere)

Holy Spirit, let’s turn up the gratitude, sustain the joy and spread it around.

…so that moments in your presence are not missed! Amen.

Photos: a sunrise blessing at my home

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Joy in our trials?

Dear God,

I’ve been thinking about discipline, testing and perseverance.

I confess that the opening verses of James are a challenge for me:

Consider it pure joy…when you face trials… 
(from James 1:2)

That’s a difficult concept to embrace, Father, but it’s beginning to sink in…

Athletes understand perseverance and endurance. There’s much to overcome, but they find great satisfaction in the discipline and testing.

And Christians have James’ promise:  
…the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
(from James 1:3-4)

There’s the joy! We will be “complete, not lacking anything.” A maturing faith. Greater intimacy with you. Growing in trust. Growing in grace.

Lord Christ, I pray for your guidance and support in my trials...that I may find joy in daily living, joy in the promise of your presence.