A Devotion for Friday, April 24, 2020
Isaiah 26:1-4 (NRSV)
1 On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; he sets up victory like walls and bulwarks. 2 Open the gates, so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. 3 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace – in peace because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
A Source of Strength
“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”
God is everlasting strength for us. For eight months my family and I cared for our beloved Mama and Grammy. Without the everlasting strength of the Lord, we could not have continued to watch her suffer in great pain day after day. Without the everlasting strength of the Lord, my mama’s pastor-daughter would not have been able to preside at her funeral as my mama had requested years ago. Neither would her beloved grandson and son-in-law have been able to speak.
The Lord’s everlasting strength is here for you, for me, hour by hour, day by day. We do whatever we have to because the everlasting arms of God surround us through times of stress, grief, pain or anguish. We are never alone. As Luther wrote five centuries ago, “a mighty fortress is our God.”
Prayer: Mighty God, draw me into your everlasting arms. Amen.
Prayer Concern: Caregivers
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NRSV)
13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
“Prepare.” “Discipline.” “Set your hope.” “Be holy.” Peter is addressing people who have been gifted with salvation, with the life that is ours in Jesus Christ – through grace. With that in mind, Peter is not writing out a prescription for gaining salvation, but rather for living in salvation. And our Baptismal service affirms this as it says, setting the words for those being baptized, not for the parents:
“Do you promise to …
live among God’s faithful people; come to hear and receive the word of God and the holy supper; learn and live by the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments; read and study the Holy Scriptures; be active in faith and prayer; trust in God; proclaim Christ in word and in deed; care for other and the world God has made; and work for justice and peace; and so grow in the Christian faith and life?”
Our parents made promises to guide and encourage us in these ways. As adults in the faith, they are now our guide for life, our way for living, our way of being “holy in all our conduct.” It is a response to the great gift of life and God’s presence; and it is who we become and are as followers of Christ, in whose name we are baptized. It becomes our calling for life in God’s love now, each and every day, it’s what we “press on toward” as Paul puts it (Phil. 3:12,14), to show our gratitude and to share the great gift we have received. It is living into that eternal, everlasting promise we have through Christ Jesus, our Savior, who indeed love us with an unsurpassing and everlasting love.
Hymn for Reflection:
“Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart” (ELW #800)
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, strength to me impart,
and make me love you as I ought to love.
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no op’ning skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.
Have you not bid me love you, God and king;
All, all your own, soul, heart, and strength, and mind?
I see your cross; there teach my heart to cling.
Oh, let me seek you and, oh, let me find!
Teach me to love you as your angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame:
The baptism of the heav’n desended dove,
My heart an altar, and your love the flame.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
– Psalm 18:2 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter
for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Danielson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery (place in the basket in the breezeway).
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork –
for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Do you Quilt?
How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
Write a Devotion
to post here and share with others, something encouraging or inspirational.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
What about a Sign Campaign?
Would we want to make simple roadside signs – from the people of Messiah – indicating prayers and support for medical, food, pharmacy, and other essential service workers (especially “on the front lines”)? What do you think? Could be a visible way of “sharing the love of Christ” in this time.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!