Weekly Reflection

The weekly reflection can be found in the weekly email newsletter or here on the website. 

Scroll down for this week's weekly reflection. 

God's will is not human will

8/7/20

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 14 BCP 232)

It is hard to truly always be right. We like to think we are always right, about everything, naturally. However, we all do come to terms with being wrong occasionally. The Collect for this coming Sunday prays for God to help us always think and do what is right, so that we can live according to God's will. While we may think we are always right on human terms, this is a whole different story.

Thinking and doing and living according to God's right will is very different than simply doing what seems right in human terms. God's way of doing things doesn't always seem right in human terms, so living according to God's will doesn't always look consistent with human will. While we hold up fairness in human activities, where everyone gets an equal share, God treats the poor with greater abundance. While we hold up meritocracy, receiving things based on what you accomplish, God gives abundantly despite and in disregard for what people have earned.

Living according to God's will requires a strong relationship with God and the community. In such relationships, prayer and worship directs us to what is right in God's will. It doesn't always look right in human terms, but God's rightness is so much better than our rightness. We only see in part, where God can see beyond all time. 


The Church is safely in God's hands


7/31/20

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 13 BCP 232)

We long for safety. Its right there near the base of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right after food, water, clothing, and shelter. We want personal security and safety. Without feelings of safety, we have a hard time progressing towards fulfilling our social, emotional, and mental needs. The same goes for the church as an organization, at the local, regional, and national levels. Some organizational business models have used Maslow's hierarchy to help people understand the needs of organizations and communities. In all of the models, safety is always near the beginning of the chart.

In today's world, safety is a loose thing. Sometimes we feel safe, even though we are in situations we aren't really safe in. Sometimes we don't feel safe in situations we should feel safe in. However, in any conversation about safety in the church, we need to consider what kind of safety we are looking for. Are we looking for worldly safety, found with doors and locks and other kinds of protection? Or are we looking for God's safety, found in faith and trust and peace in our hearts?

God's safety doesn't always feel like human safety, allusive as either might be. God's safety goes deeper than any protection doors or locks might give. When we trust in God and God's path for our lives, we might end up in places where we do not feel safe, but when God leads us, we have a greater safety to lean onto. Since God has been caring for God's people for millennia, I think we can safely say, God has got us in God's hands. 

"I saw Eternity the other night"

7/24/20

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 12 BCP 231)

"I saw Eternity the other night,

Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm, as it was bright;

And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,

Driv’n by the spheres

Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world

And all her train were hurl’d."

"The World" by Henry Vaughan, a Welsh poet from the 1600's. Henry Vaughan was part of the Church of England, despite the Church being illegal at the time, and wrote many religious poems. Many of his poems talk about the difference between God's kingdom and the world, the difference between our linear time and eternity, the difference between what passes away and what stays true.

Both the Collect for this coming Sunday and this Vaughan poem talk about the difference between what is temporary and what is eternal. The end of the poem talks about the ring of eternity being a gift from Jesus the bridegroom to his bride the Church. One of the Christian hopes we rest in is that the eternal kingdom of heaven will have no suffering as part of it. We will be moved with beauty and joy, for the sufferings and sorrows of this time will have passed away. All our hardships will be over and done with, and we will glory in God's peace.