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Lent 2017: Day 6

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Lent 2017: Day 6
(If you are wondering why I am only on Day 6, the 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays)
Living Prayerfully by Pastor Wendy
I admit, I had to look up the meaning of the word trifle. It sounds like such a fun word to me, but given the context I knew it wasn’t a word I want to be called. It means of little significance or importance. Today’s prayer was beautiful. These words were of special significance to me today: “Here I am as fully in your presence as I am able to be, offering…”
I needed the reminder today that God accepts me as fully as I am able to be. There are days like today when I am not as present with God or others as I would like to be. I am looking forward to attending required clergy training the next three days, which also means that I feel like I need to get as many tasks done as possible today at church as well as at home so I can be fully present at training. God only expects us to do our best in the moment.
I also appreciate the reminder that I can offer up to God my anxiety about what tasks get done and which ones do not, and I can ask God to help me prioritize what I need to do. I am not alone. God is with me!
What about you? What stood out to you in the reading today?

 


Lent 2017: Day 3

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Day 3 of 40 Days with Wesley by Rueben P. Job (2017).

The first Wesley reading says, “We have nothing but what is owing entirely to thy free and bounteous love, O most blessed Creator, and to the riches of thy grace, O most blessed Redeemer.” I fully agree with this statement, and it causes me to pause.  As I soak in the words, I wonder if my life reflects the magnitude of gratitude and dependence on God that I now hear Wesley articulate.

I am not someone who needs a lot of reassurance.  But, I am human, and I like complements for a job well done and I like to know that my efforts resulted in something good.  I know some of you are thinking…what’s wrong with that?  Nothing, except that when I think like that, the focus is on me. And I know that to feel the level of thankfulness, reliance, and intimacy with God that these words cause me to desire, I cannot be focused on me. I believe that Wesley and Job are trying to help us to live our lives as though we believe with all our essence that all we have and all that we do is made possible by God. As I think about this, I am reminded that Jesus didn’t take the credit.  Jesus modeled a different way.  Jesus continually pointed to God in his words and his actions. I pray that I might do the same.

What about you?  What stood out to you in the reading today?


Lent 2017: Day 2

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Day 2 of 40 Days with Wesley by Reuben P. Job (2017).

Wesley says, “there is no point in space, whether within or without the bounds of creation, where God is not” (15).  Reading this reminded me of an eye opening experience I had while traveling as a seminary student in India two years ago.  One morning we walked to the local market and while we were there our professor offered us the opportunity to experience Hindu worship, which at this temple meant walking around the inner circle three times and receiving a blessing from the spiritual leader, who was a woman.  I was very curious and also quite uncomfortable.  My mind was racing through Hebrew Bible scriptures on idols and I was worried about what I might tell others later about my experience. This sounds crazy to me now, but at the time I was worried that when I went inside, I would be leaving God outside.  I was taught as a child that God is everywhere and I had professed many times that I believed that.  But, in the moment, I wondered if I were crossing a line? Somehow, would I be going it alone inside the temple?

Yet, I felt compelled to go in.  When a couple of other students agreed to go in the temple, I joined them.  As I walked, I thought about my professor’s lecture on Hinduism and their belief that what I was seeing were not idols, but means by which god manifests gods-self in the world. And, then I blocked all this out and turned my attention to a conversation with God.  I was determined to talk to God, in the event God was still present. As I talked I noticed a hand sticking out of the statue like a stop sign which caused me to stop walking and talking. In the silence, I felt an overwhelming sense of God’s presence. I knew God was right there with me. There is nothing any of us can say or do that will keep God away.

I knew this, but on that that, I really knew it! My eyes were opened.  I now know with all my essence that God has been and will always be present with me/with us, everywhere, at all times.

Have you ever had an experience where you doubted or wondered if God was present, only to discover that God had been there all along?  I’d also love to hear from you what stood out to you in the reading today?


Lent Day 1

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Today is the start of lent and the beginning of my new commitment to read, 40 Days with Wesley: A Daily Devotional Journey by Reuben P. Job[1] and share my reflections with you.  My comments today are in regards to the Day 1 devotional. Lent is a time for self-examination and repentance.  As part of my daily blog, I am challenging myself to share what I am reflecting on as well as areas for repentance.

In the reflection section, Job says, “Commitment to a god that is too small will stifle away hope for a transformed world and dull our efforts to bring such a world into being.” I know that God has the power to transform lives.  God can break cycles of poverty, addiction, and abuse.  God can soften hearts and make reconciliation possible.  I have seen firsthand in my own life and in the lives of so many others.  My hope for transformation of the world rests in God. I know we humans cannot do it alone.  And, it feels like a lot of transformation is needed for us humans to love all of creation—everywhere—and work for restoration and reconciliation.

I know God can and does do this work.  But, do I envision it happening…right here…today…or even in my lifetime?  Do I feel the urgency? Am I actively, consciously working toward bring this vision—one that I cannot fully grasp due to my own human limitations—into being? I picture the unfolding of new life and newly reconciled relationships when I think of brining God’s vision into being.  Doing so requires work. I am reminded that there is a difference between passively following along and actively engaging.  Job reminds me that God does not work alone.  God calls those whom are made in God’s image to be co-creators.  I/we have a role to play in “brining such a world into being.”  I am aware today that there is a difference in being willing to hop on a roller coaster with the Spirit and travel to wherever it is leading, not knowing its destination and being a full participant in building and shaping the path that I and others are travelling with the Spirit.  I can see my view of God and my partnership with God expanding today!

What about you?  What in the reading has caused you to stop and reflect?  Where is the Spirit working in you today?  I invite you to share your reflections so we can learn from one another.

Pastor Wendy

 

[1] Reuben P. Job, 40 Days with Wesley: A Daily Devotional Journey, Abingdon Press: Nashville, 2017.