A Devotion for Tuesday, May 8, 2020
Proverbs 3:5-12 (NRSV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. 9 Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
“Do not be wise in your own eyes.”
In Peoria, llinois, there is a program for retired adults looking for education. The program, run through the local university, provides classes on a variety of topics, some practical, some academic. The goal is to help adults continue learning well into their retirement years, to keep their curious, inquisitive spirits alive.
Learning continues, the writer of Proverbs wrote, as long as we are not wise in our own eyes. Wisdom and understanding come not when we know it all but when we admit that we don’t know it all. A spirit of repentance that always admits mistakes and errors becomes the key to wisdom and understanding.
We too may adopt this attitude. We may remember what we were like in our youth and the things we have learned since then. We may realize that we will never know everything there is to know. And we may approach life with the humility that admits there is always something more to learn. That is the path to true wisdom.
Prayer: Nourishing Spirit, empower me to seek the justice that you have promised. Amen.
Prayer Concern: Universities and places of learning, especially in these challenging times.
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
Psalm 56:3-4, 10-13
3 When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?
8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me?
12 My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Fear and trust. According to the psalmist, these words have a deep connection. As he faces his own fears, his hope is found in trust – in trusting in the One who can bring him relief, who can save him from his affliction, his predicament. In that trust, he recognizes the difference between human strength and power, and the power and strength of God.
He also recognizes that his God is not a distant God, but one who is near, who will “put my tears in your bottle.” This is a God who is not only strong, but a God who cares for His people, who cares about their lives.
And so, with that trust, and with that source of strength and hope, he can – in the midst of his suffering – yet say, “I put my trust in you … in God I trust … In God whose word I praise … I will render thank offerings to you.” And his trust in God becomes comfort in his fears so that he is not afraid, knowing that God delivers his life, and sets him walking in the right direction, “in the light of life.” That same God is also our source of strength and hope in the midst of anything that might frighten us and cause us to be afraid as we trust that God does care, and is with us, to cast out our fears and lead us also into the light of life.
Hymn for Reflection:
“Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” (ELW #755)
Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach’rous shoal;
Chart and compass come from thee, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child, thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boist’rous waves obey thy will when thou say’st, to them: “Be still.”
Wondrous sov’reign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, Pilot me.
When at last I near the shore, and the fearful breakers roar
Twixt me and the peaceful rest, then, while leaning on thy breast,
May I hear thee say to me: “Fear not, I will pilot thee.”
If you would like to borrow an ELW or a WOV hymnal (or both) during this time of sheltering in place, you may pick one up in the narthex on the table to the right as you come in. They have been sanitized for you protection.
Please put your name on the check-out list so we can remind you to bring it/them back when we are able to resume worship in the sanctuary. Also, please sanitize them before you bring them back.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
– Matthew 11:29 (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.
Perhaps it could be a remembrance or experience of God’s faithfulness or love at work in your life.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Felicity Luthanen who has tested positive.
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!