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Category Archives: Old Testament

And When You Pray: The Gift of Daily Bread

(a sermon for July 9, 2017, the 5th Sunday after Pentecost; fourth in a series, based on  Deuteronomy 8:7-18, John 6:32-34 and Matthew 6:9-13)

So now here we are, roughly halfway through this “prayer of our Savior,” having appropriately prayed for things that relate directly to God and God’s kingdom –“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – after all of this, now things get personal. And for the first time, our prayerfulness turns to the practical realities of life; asking God for the things that are necessary for our physical lives, yours and mine:  “Give us this day our daily bread.”

You might remember that last Sunday I spoke about how there are “three levels of prayer,” and how that first level of prayer is basically our asking God to provide for us any and all of the blessings that we ask for; which isn’t necessarily as bad as that sounds!  However, I must confess that the whole time I was working on that sermon and into this week as well, I had this one particular tune running through my head:

“O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz,
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”
– “Mercedes Benz,” written by Janis Joplin, Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth

Hey, I am a child of the 60’s after all!  What’s funny is that I can remember as clear as day hearing that song from Janis Joplin on the radio for the first time at about the age of 12 or 13, and thinking to my Sunday School educated self, “Well, that’s no kind of prayer, is it?”  Granted, Joplin intended for this song to be a bit of satire regarding the rampant level of materialism that still exists in our culture (and in spades!), but even back then, I remember thinking that this doesn’t jibe at all with praying that God “give us this day our daily bread!”

And I was right about that… God’s not meant to be the supernatural giver of luxury cars (or as the second verse of that song suggests, color TV’s!); yet, as I would discover throughout all the years that have followed, there’s much more included in that particular petition of the almighty than simply a loaf of bread!

Of course, make no mistake; there’s great significance in the fact that Jesus specifically speaks of “daily bread” in this prayer he’s giving us.  First and foremost, it’s a powerful image that would have strongly resonated in the hearts of the people of his time; in many ways bread was symbolic of the totality of God’s providential care!  T was reminiscent of the “manna” that fell from heaven and which kept Israel from going hungry during their time of wilderness wandering; it speaks of God’s on-going covenant of care with his people, from the time of Abraham to Jacob to Moses and beyond. Moreover, biblically speaking, bread is symbol of hospitality, of charity and generosity, and even of reconciliation:  “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat.” (Proverbs 25:21)  And anyone within the sound of Jesus’ voice would know that food begins with… bread.  It’s simply the stuff of basic sustenance!

Now, glutens notwithstanding, bread might still be for us “the staff of life,” but I would suspect that most of us would think of our basic sustenance as something much broader.  For us, “daily bread” might well exist in the form of a good job and a regular paycheck, the means to have food on the table but also a roof over our heads, or for that matter, a solid pension or a good 401K plan for our retirement years!  Actually to take this a step further, hear the words of Martin Luther from some 500 years ago: he said “that daily bread doesn’t just refer to food… it stands for all the physical things we need for life; everything that nourishes life;” things like “food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.” (Whew… maybe that Mercedes Benz wasn’t so far off the mark, after all!)

The point here is that “daily bread” we seek represents all of that which provides for you and me a good, and full, and dare I say it: even a prosperous life.  But do you see what every one of those things I listed off have in common?  It’s that no matter how hard we work to attain it, hang on to it, cling to it or protect it, it could nonetheless all slip away from us… just like that.  Not that it will – I don’t want to inspire panic here (!) – but the fact remains it can!  In a prior church, I had a parishioner who was the CEO of a multi-million dollar, international corporation that had done quite well; and one day, in the midst of a conversation about faith and stewardship, actually, he said to me that today he could honestly say that he was worth an amount of X million plus dollars.  But tomorrow, he went on to say, I could well have nothing at all.  I asked him if that had ever happened to him, and he answered, “Oh, yes, any number of times…”  And then he smiled and added, “I just don’t really have any control over that.”

You and I are not likely at that rung of the corporate ladder, but the fact remains is that all of the sources of our wealth and security; all of the things that we work for and consider to be sustenance is temporary at best.  And I’m here to tell you this morning that this is less an economic truth than it is a spiritual one:  for ultimately, you see, the source of all good things is eternal; and the place where we receive the gift of daily bread is from God!

I would suggest to you that when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” it is not as much a request for all the good things of life (though I would agree with Luther that it is part of it!), as much as it is the true acknowledgment that all good gifts do come from God!  This is a truth that comes through strongly in our reading this morning from Deuteronomy, which is a celebration of God’s many blessings unto his people (a reading, not coincidentally, that we often read around Thanksgiving!): “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land… [and] when you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied… do not say to yourself, ‘My power and my might of my own hand have  gotten me this wealth.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.”

Not that we people ever completely learn this; that’s why I also included this morning those verses from John’s gospel, in which some of those amongst the 5,000 who’d just been fed the loaves and fishes were still wanting to ascribe miracles to someone like Moses, who brought forth that manna in the wilderness.  But Jesus was quick to remind them that it wasn’t Moses, but “my Father who gave you the true bread from heaven,” the bread “that gives life to the world.”

In many ways, at least for most of us today in the kind of world we live in, it doesn’t seem like all that much, does it?  It’s such a simple request for us to bow our heads say to God, “Give us this day our daily bread,” but in fact, it’s everything.  Like I said at the beginning, here’s the point of the Lord’s Prayer when things get personal; for when we pray this prayer, we are affirming God as the sole source of our lives, our health, our food… every bit of what we consider to be our sustenance.  We are placing our whole trust, our whole selves in the hand of the one who cares for his people day by day by day; and in doing so, we discover that while the truth has always been that we don’t have the control over these things that we like to think we do, all will be well, and we will always know the gift of daily bread.

I think it important to add here that “daily bread” does suggest a simplicity of life; our focus is not meant to be on the so-called luxuries of life.  To quote one preacher by the name of Mickey Anders, “We are not to ask for cake or pie but for bread – the necessity of life.”  (I’m not sure I really like that quote, but there you are!)  Moreover, it should be said that just as throughout scripture bread is seen as the first means to share with others, to reach out to the poor or to reconcile with one’s enemies, our prayers for “daily bread” must also include our intentions for what which God is blessing us.  In so many ways, as we often like to say around here, we are blessed to be a blessing; and, I might add, we are people of a promise.

The renowned theologian R.C. Sproul tells a story of the days following the Korean Conflict, when there was left a large number of children who had been orphaned by the war.  There were, of course, a number of relief agencies who tried to deal with that situation and care for these children, many of whom quite literally starving to death.  But “even though the children had three meals a day provided for them, they were restless and anxious at night and had difficulty sleeping.  To help resolve this problem, the relief workers in one particular orphanage decided that each night when the children were put to bed, the nurses there would place a single piece of bread in each child’s hand,” not to be eaten, but to be held by those children as they went to sleep, a reminder that there would be food for tomorrow and “that there would be provision for their daily needs.”  And sure enough, the bread calmed their anxieties and those children slept soundly from then on.

Some would argue that there’s no real need for us to pray this prayer; for such is the grace of God that “daily bread” will come to us whether we pray for it or not.  But I would say that’s missing the point entirely; for just as those children found their comfort in holding a piece of bread for the next day, this prayer of humble dependence upon God gives you and me the assurance that no matter what other sources of sustenance run dry in this life, we will always have the presence of this ever graceful, infinitely loving Lord who provides for our needs on this and every day of our lives.

And whereas we can’t claim luxury vehicles and color TV’s as part of that providence, there is nonetheless spread for us a table of the bread that comes down from heaven, and which gives us life… and life for the world.

And for this day, our daily bread, thanks be to God!

Amen and AMEN!

c. 2017  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 

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The Choices We Make

IMAG0571(a sermon for February 12, 2017, the 6th Sunday after Epiphany, based on Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

The older I get, the more convinced I have become that so much of “life as we know it” is made up of an unending series of choices and their consequences!

Understand, this isn’t any new discovery on my part; I remember, for instance, being thirteen years old and trying to figure out what to do with some money that was burning a hole in my pocket.  And of course, there was a choice to be made, and the choice was clear:  whether to do the mature thing and put that money safely in the little savings account I’d just opened at the local bank, or to do the fun thing and go out and blow it all on whatever the “cool” thing was at the moment; not an easy decision when you’re thirteen, but there were consequences either way!   Or, then there was the time when I was sixteen and agonized for weeks whether I should bolster my courage and ask the girl I had this crush on to the Winter Carnival Dance, knowing full well that to do so was to risk getting shot down in flames (By the way, I did… and, alas, I was… but that’s sometimes the inevitable result of the choices we make!).

And that was only the beginning!  But you know what I’m talking about here; life is filled with choices:  some difficult, to be sure, and inevitably fraught with trouble; but a great many others that are crystal clear and are life-affirming in the choosing. Education, vocation, marriage and family, geography, philosophy and, might I add, faith (!); from the moment you and I set out on life’s journey – and continuing on from year to year and “from season to changing season” – we are confronted by a multitude of choices that will not only determine the course of that journey, but will ultimately shape us as well.

Granted, not all our decisions are so momentous and life-changing; honestly, most of our choices are the kind of everyday, routine, even automatic decisions that are part and parcel of daily life.  Moreover, there are choices before us that really aren’t choices at all, because we already know that there is only one clear, correct and, dare I say, moral way to choose; the kind of things that build up community and make us part of a civilized, and hopefully compassionate society.  So truly, many of the decisions we make in this life are relatively easy ones, in part because we already understand the consequences involved, and we’ve already clear on which pathway we’re meant to travel.

But then there are other choices that aren’t so easy; ones that can actually cause us some amount of struggle and pain.  These often come at those moments when we’ll find ourselves at an unmarked crossroad of our lives and living, and we have to decide which way to go.  If you’ve been there – and I suspect most of us have – then you know that these are the decisions that tear the very core of our being.

Remember those famous words of Robert Frost’s poem, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both…?” (from “The Road Not Taken”)  For me, that was always the quintessential evocation of how some choices have a way of affecting the entirety of life; and trust me, back when I was a young man trying to figure out my way in the world, I found great power (and no small amount of comfort) in Frost’s assertion that “somewhere ages and ages hence,” he could say “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”   For me, the beauty of that poem wasn’t even an assumption that “the road not taken” was somehow the one decision that led to all success and good fortune; but rather it was the truth that in all the uncertainties that life has to offer, there’s a choice to be made as to which road to travel, and it’s how we choose that makes all the difference moving forward!

But the question is – the question always is (!) – how do we choose?  How do we really know which way to go, which road “diverged in the yellow wood” we’re supposed to travel?  Are we supposed to play it safe and stay on the well-marked pathways of life?  Or are we meant to take the leap of faith in forging new trails of our own?  More to the point of our lives, what do we do when the choices aren’t so clear cut, or correct, or so readily moral or ethical to our sensibilities; which way do we go when the way ahead seems murky at best?

That is what our text for this morning is all about.

As we pick up this Old Testament story from Deuteronomy, it’s late in the life of Moses; in a time when he himself knew that he would not be crossing over the River Jordan into the Promised Land.  Moses is an old man at this point; but even as he’s about to step aside with Joshua becoming his successor, he is deeply concerned for the fate of Israel moving forward.  It’s not so much a concern regarding God’s continued presence and providence unto his people – for that had been proven again and again – but rather it’s a concern about how Israel would respond to their God, especially given their lapses of faith in the past.

Moses, you see, recognized that the people of Israel were again at a crossroads and that there was a choice to be made, the consequences of which amounted to their whole future.  And so now, here’s this man who once thought of himself as lacking eloquence and actually sought to deflect the very call of God by claiming that he was too “slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10) now gathering up all of God’s people and fairly well roaring at them, “…today I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him, for that means life to you and length of days.”

This is your choice, a choice between “life and prosperity” or “death and adversity.”  “Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God… [but] refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, you will most certainly die.” [The Message]  There’s a choice to be made, so choose… choose life!

There is nothing at all murky or uncertain about that!

Now Moses’ message to the people of Israel might seem far removed from the kind of garden variety life choices you and I face along the way, and I’ll admit, it’s tempting to dismiss the Old Testament language of judgment as the “hellfire and brimstone” rantings of an earlier time.  But what we need to remember here is that at the heart of Moses’ words is not judgment, but the opportunity to choose wisely and faithfully; and that has everything to do with our lives here and now!  What Moses is saying here is that God’s people need to commit – with heart and soul and body – to a vibrant relationship with this God in whom they live and move and have their being.   And you see, the choice is as clear to us as it was for them:  we may choose to honor the covenant our ancestors have made with God and have carried through the generations; or we can choose to break that covenant by faithlessness, in the worship of idols, or by negligence of God.  We can choose life, or we can choose death; it’s up to us, and it’s our choice to make.  But we need to choose.

Life, of course, is defined by much more than the evidence of a beating heart; likewise, death cannot ever simply be described as the cessation of physical life.  It’s possible to experience a spiritual or emotional death, living and breathing but nonetheless feeling cut off from love and fellowship and everything else that makes life matter.  Likewise, what’s that saying about how life shouldn’t be measured in the number of breaths you take, but rather in the moments that take your breath away?  The point is that the difference between life and death is also the difference between fulfillment and emptiness, movement and stagnancy, liberation and servitude; it’s in that context that Moses says to the people of God, and to you and me, “Choose life,” life as God has created it and intends for it to be in all of its wonder and opportunity, and “loving the LORD your God” in the midst of it all, “obeying him, and holding fast to him.”

Holding fast to God… that’s the best choice of all!  It’s walking with God in all things; it’s finding wonder and strength and wholeness in even the most mysterious and utterly uncertain parts of our existence, simply because God is in the midst of it.  It’s embracing a sense of wholeness and peace in the midst of confusing times in a conflicted world, all because we know God has already given us the hope and strength we need for the way.  It’s the freedom to cast off the burdens of guilt, and sorrow, and regret, and sin that cause us die a thousand deaths every single day, and to walk in forgiveness and new life.  It’s ever and always walking in the company of God, for “that means life to you and length of days.”

Of course, it needs to be said here that holding fast to God and choosing life in him does with it some amount of responsibility; and that, if we’re being honest, can make the way ahead challenging. Did you ever hear the story of the little boy who had expected a toy for his birthday from his favorite uncle, but instead got a sweater?  After his birthday, his mother prompted him to write a thank-you note, which read, “Dear Uncle George, Thank you for the sweater.  It’s what I always wanted, but not very much. Love, Jimmy.”

We are called to choose life; and life is what we always want, but sometimes not very much!  And that’s because while life is always the good choice, the Godly choice, it is not always (if ever!) the easy choice.  Indeed, choosing life over death often requires profound sacrifice, great courage, the willingness to be isolated from conventional and popular culture, and the ability to stand strong and even smile amid adversity.  It stands for life lived with a higher standard under a greater allegiance; and it represents a commitment to God’s purposes in all things, in all places and at all times, now and forever.

Indeed, life can often be the more difficult choice… but it the choice that carries with it the very fullness of our existence.

So now there’s life and death, blessings and curses… even now they are set before you and before me.

What will we choose, beloved?

What will we choose?

I pray that we will always choose life.

Thanks be to God.

Amen and AMEN.

c. 2017  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 

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A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

EA61132

(a sermon for  January 1, 2017, the 1st Sunday after Christmas and New Year’s Day, based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-13)

I’ll be honest with you:  as holidays go, I’ve never been much of a fan of New Year’s Day or Eve.  Frankly, from my perspective, the best thing New Year’s has got going for it is that it is not a religious holiday, and – this particular year notwithstanding – we don’t usually plan any special services!

Granted, it is kind of nice to just be able to stay home and just “chill out,” as it were, especially in the wake of all the activity that surrounds the Advent and Christmas seasons.  But mostly, I’ve always thought of New Year’s Eve and Day as a time for restaurateurs, champagne vendors, and partiers to do their thing – which is fine, and in fact, I spent a great many New Year’s Eves in my younger days playing music (and making good money) at those parties (!) – but these days I must confess that my biggest challenge on this holiday is whether I can stay awake long enough to watch the ball drop on Times Square!

But all that said, given that the beginning of a new year does traditionally seem to be a time for reflecting on the past, present and future, even if this isn’t a Christian holiday, per se, it is good for us as people of faith to not only reflect on the ways that God has met us and led us in the year just past, but also to look to the horizon for the advent of God in the year ahead!  Today is actually the perfect time for us to renew our hearts to the truth, as echoed in the old hymn, that God has been “our help in ages past, our hope for years to come;” to pray for peace on earth and for the “day of God [to] draw nigh in beauty and in power.”

Perhaps I spoke too soon; maybe New Year’s should be a liturgical holiday after all!

Actually, I suspect that as most of us look back upon 2016, we’ll recall a very eventful year; one in which there was indeed “a time for every matter under heaven.”   We’ll remember times of joy as well as times of sorrow; times of ease and contentment mingled with those of struggle and uncertainty.  I know that’s certainly been true for me this year, as it’s been for so many of us.  It’s the stuff of life “as we know it” filled with moments teeming with great and utter joy; and yet, we’d be less than honest if we didn’t acknowledge that there’s been also some grief and despair along the way, and times in which we’ve learned what it means to “bear one another’s burdens” in very real and cogent ways.  And I don’t have to tell you that this has been the year that we’ve all had a front row seat to the spectacle of a nation and world in turmoil!  But even with all of that, I dare say that in the presence of Jesus Christ and by the movement of God’s Holy Spirit we are also discovering that “it is well” with our souls.

That’s the thing about the passing of time: everything in life – the good and bad, easy and hard, joyous and painful – seems, sooner or later, to have its time.  I think that’s why in getting ready for this morning I was drawn to that familiar passage from Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal…”

Now I know that for a lot of us, just hearing those words evokes memories of the ‘60’s, and the music of the Byrds (or Pete Seeger, if you are a purist!); and they represent unending hope and our dreams for the future. It’s the message that the seasons do roll along and times passes, but things do change for the better.  Fear notdespair not (!) – for everything has its time.  And yet, when we read this passage of scripture in its context, that’s not exactly the message that comes through! In fact, the words of this text actually come of sounding a bit dark!  There’s “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance… a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing… a time to love and a time to hate.” Everything that’s good and desirable about life and living seems to be connected to that which is inherently bad!  And then, after this litany of all the good and bad “times of our lives,” there’s this: “What gain have the workers from their toil?”

In other words, yes, there is a time for everything:  a time for work and maybe a time for vacation; a time for making twelve car payments and twelve too many mortgage payments; and yes, there’s time buy the groceries and to debate politics and to take in a couple of football games.  But where does it all lead, and what good comes of it?  I’m reminded of a very old “Peanuts” comic strip in which Sally, jump rope in hand, is crying her eyes out; Charlie Brown rushes to her and says to his sister, “Why are you crying?”  To which Sally answers, “I was just standing here jumping rope, and suddenly, it all seemed so futile!” Quite honestly, sometimes we get the same feeling!  After all is said and done (and for 2016 at least, it all really is said and done), the question remains: what in the world does it all mean?

Understand that the book of Ecclesiastes was written as a wisdom teaching regarding the truth of human life.  Taken as a whole, it’s a very direct and profound warning against putting one’s security upon that which is created by human intent and ego.  It was written after the Babylonian Exile, an experience that had taught the Hebrew people that life was never meant to be an uninterrupted walk in the park!  In fact, one commentator I read has actually accused the writer of Ecclesiastes as being “the ultimate cynic,” and I have to say that there’s some truth to that.  “Vanity of vanities,” says the Teacher, something he says 38 times (!) through the course of this book.  “All is vanity,” a very blunt message to anyone who would only look at life through rose colored glasses.

But… here’s the thing; life might not always be wonderful, but it’s not all bad, either; it simply moves on. You see, as any people borne of a rural culture understand, time here is seen as cyclical, without beginning or end.  There’s a time to plant, a time to pull up what is planted, then a time to plant again.  One of the stories that we love to tell in our family is about our nephew Joshua, who’s all grown up now, but when he was little was a farmer’s son with a way of thinking and speaking that belied his years.  One winter night I was dispatched, as I always was in those days, to take all the kids to the movies; and as we were driving along the potato fields that line the roads up there, my son makes the comment that he really loves to see the snow covering all the fields.  And to this Joshua replies, “Well, you know, Jake, when I look at those fields, all I see is seedtime and harvest, seedtime and harvest!”

I nearly drove off the road, I was laughing so hard; but, you know, he was right!  In life, there is this constant movement from seedtime to harvest, from winter to spring, around and around.  And there’s nothing that you or I do or not do that changes that!  Likewise, people are born, people die; there are going to be wars just as there is will be peace; and yes, people live and move through the seasons of their own lives.  In short, life happens; life goes on, and we really have very little to do with it.  The task of creating and shaping life belongs to God and God alone.

I realize that to think of life this way is a bit depressing!  But the question from Ecclesiastes is a valid one: what gain have the workers from their toil?  Perhaps the answer to that question is already there in the words of the Teacher: “I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with,’ he says.  God “has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end.”

So, it’s not simply about life proceeding in some long, boring, repetitive fashion.  It’s not simply about there being a time for every purpose under heaven; it’s that there is a right time for every purpose under heaven; a right time to speak, a right time to stay quiet, a right time to tear things apart, a right time to put things back together.  There’s a right time to mourn, and, yes, a right time to dance!

What’s the old saying?  “Timing is everything?” Some of us, I’m sure, can tell stories about an occasion where we said or did something unexpected, but perhaps for reasons we can’t begin to understand it was the perfect thing to do or say in that particular moment; or else, we’ve struggled to figure out if “the timing’s right” for whatever we’re planning, even if hesitating results in a missed opportunity!

Well, Ecclesiastes tells us that timing is everything, but time, the right time is in God’s hands rather than ours.  What we’re given is a sense of past and future, and the ability to learn from what’s gone on before even if we don’t know how our particular story is going to come out.  We’re given the gift of faith, which enables us to respond to all the “times of our lives” with courage, joy and with an inner assurance (however tentative sometimes) that whatever happens, happens at the right time.  I like what William Willimon says about this:  he writes that it “would be wisdom always to know the right time.  But Ecclesiastes says that it is greater wisdom to face the facts, to accept our finite creaturely status… [and know] that the seasons of [our lives] are held in God’s hand, and [that] by God’s grace, it will be well.”

In other words, it’s all part of the plan; and, friends, it always has been.  Whether we’re talking the birth of a baby in a manger, or the cross itself, God’s presence and saving love has always come to us with perfect timing; as scripture so often puts it, “in the fullness of time.”  And in grace, God continues to meet us and lead us along the movement of time, guiding us in all the timely (and untimely) actions of our living.

With the beginning of a new year, there will be much in the coming months that will certainly come about because of our effort and hard work; but the truth is that so much more will happen by God’s leading and grace.  I would suggest to you this morning that this is the key to a truly happy new year, one filled with the awareness of God’s perfect timing in your life and living; it will certainly make a difference for us in the year ahead.  As Frederick Beuchner once wrote about a particularly difficult time in his life, “I discovered that if you really keep your eye peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it, [life] opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye.  Eating lunch with a friend.  Trying to do a decent day’s work. Hearing the rain patter against the window.”  Truly, writes Beuchner, “There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize him.”

Beloved, “for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven;” and so it will be in 2017. In whatever happens around us, to us and for us in this year that’s now just beginning to unfold, I pray may we always recognize God’s presence and love within it all.

And may we give thanks to God as we do.

AMEN and AMEN!

c. 2017  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 

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