Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lenten Devotion -- Easter Sunday -- Sunday, April 5

Day 46

The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The journey is over. The journey of the rest of the year starts now. I hope to take all I've learned through these meditations with me on that journey.

The discipline of reading a psalm a day, meditating on it, fitting it in with the day's events and sharing my thoughts here has been heart, mind and soul opening. I don't know that I will continue a daily devotion, but I will definitely attempt a daily meditation.

I thank all of you of who have followed this journey, and helped me along it. I pray that some of what you've read here has helped in some way. I hope that some of it will go out with you and into the world.
Questions for reflection:

Lenten Devotion -- Easter Vigil -- Saturday, April 4

Day 45

Please go read the Psalm in it's entirety. I can add nothing to it.

Tonight was Easter Vigil. Very moving experience, very enlivening.

Our pastor made a very good point in the homily: When we look at the stories that define our world today (Ebola, Islamic State, Ferguson... and the list goes on), we need to look the stories of our faith to help keep us grounded the REAL definition of our world.

I leave you with some images from our Easter Vigil:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lenten Devotion -- Friday, April 3

Day 44

Today, we celebrate Good Friday. It is appropriate, then, that the first verse of the psalm is

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Good Friday service at our church is a very intense, moving experience. In the service, we relive that fateful night in the scriptures, the music, the darkness of the stark stripped sanctuary. We close in silence, processing by the cross in meditation in almost complete darkness and total silence.

We depart having experienced the pain of the crucifixion, in anticipation of the Easter Vigil tomorrow. So even in the darkest hour of the season, there is hope.

Jesus went through that humiliation, pain and agony for us. Tonight we experienced a shadow of the emotions of that night. Let us not lose site of the price that was paid for our redemption in our celebration of that redemption.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lenten Devotion - Thursday, April 2

Day 43

David, to whom this psalm is attributed, is a prime example of God using those he chooses despite their shortcomings. My goodness, was he one messed up individual or what? Still, despite all that, see what he accomplished for God. But this psalm is about betrayal, on Maundy Thursday when Judas betrayed Jesus.

Lynne M. Baab says: "It’s so easy to view Judas’s actions as something quite extraordinary, but all of us have the tendency to betray those we love." My first reaction to that was: What?? No way! I've never betrayed anyone I love in my life! But I stopped and thought about it. That is certainly my perception, and is accurate as far as that goes. But what if someone I loved did feel betrayed and, for whatever reason, did not tell me? That's a very worrisome thought. If it the case I ask their forgiveness, and God's forgiveness.
Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
    the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
The Lord protects and preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
    and restores them from their bed of illness.
The above is very comforting in light of the fact that I strongly believe:
"Them as can do, has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices." 
      Granny Aching, Wee Free Men -- Sir Terry Pratchett.
Dear Lord, show me how to do, how to be the voice and how to do your work. Give me the strength and constancy to see it through.
Questions for reflection:

Lenten Devotion -- Wednesday, April 1

Day 42

In psalm 69, the psalmist feels like he's in dire straights and is begging God for deliverance. He feels like the whole world is against him, because of his perceived righteousness and his work for God. I understand Christians (or people of any religion) who are in a minority and are persecuted feeling that way. I have a feeling that the "Conservative Christian" folks who think they are doing God's work also feel this way: that they are doing God's work in the face of a hostile world. Getting past how I feel about their positions is hard for me because of how fundamentally I disagree with everything they stand for. But they must be in my prayers regardless. All extremists should be in my prayers. I will pray that God will show them God's way and help them to see that we are all in this together, we are all children of God - even those that don't believe in God - and are deserving of peace, love and happiness. And I will pray that God will show us all a way to work together to that end and for God's kingdom.

Today is the 4th anniversary of my Father's passing. In all the ways that matter, he is the reason I am who I am today. He is the reason I have the faith I have today. He is the reason for the values I have. Having said that, I'll say that parts of me that still need work are all on me. I'm not trying to put my father on a pedestal, just want to take responsibility for the work I still have to do.

Tomorrow starts the worship experience that leads us up to Easter. Maundy Thursday, when we remember the last supper. Good Friday, when we remember the suffering and crucifixion. Saturday's Easter vigil, when we remember our faith journey and baptism and relive the Church's history in preparation for the great day. And finally Easter Sunday when we celebrate the Resurrection and our redemption.If you are looking for a worship experience in Plano, TX may I encourage you to check out our schedule?

Tomorrow, in a sense, is the beginning of the end of the Lenten journey. Hopefully, the lessons learned here will stay with me and start me on the next leg of the journey towards the kingdom.
Questions for reflection:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lenten Devotion -- Tuesday,March 31

Day 41

There's an anthem, by Hal Hopson I believe, based on psalm 91: It is running through my head right now. It's a great anthem in it's own right, but the lyrics are fantastic. Essentially, the world can be going to heck in a handbasket, and the world may literally be firing arrows at you, but God will watch over you and protect you. Literally taking you under God's wings. You don't get more protected than that.

It is tempting to say: gee the themes for these meditations seem to be repetitive, or just variations on a theme. But that's the point: God's comfort and protection is from everlasting to everlasting and we need to be constantly aware of them. Being humans, however, we are easily distracted and can easily get caught up in the turmoil of life and then we try to take it all on ourselves... So we do need the constant reminders.
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lenten Devotion -- Monday, March 30

Day 40

Over the last couple of days, many demands have been made of me. Some openly and combatively, some gently and with patience, some were made passively. While I understand that I have a responsibility to meet all of them, it is sometimes a drain. It is good that I am going through this meditation because it is helping me cope. I am surprised at how often I have to remind myself to think back on the psalms and take courage and solace from them. I suppose I expected that reaction to be second nature by now. But it's not. I guess the lizard brain (the one that experiences fear and wants to fight or flee) is stronger than the rational, meditative brain. I thank God that we are in Lent and that God has called me to see these reminders on a daily basis.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
Sometimes I read those verses and I just want to shout at the world: "Bring it!"

Then again, there are times when I should ought to have them tattooed somewhere as a reminder...
One thing I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.

And if you are going through tough times right now:
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!
Questions for reflection: