Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Prayer and Promise

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 -- Week of 7 Easter

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 965)
Psalms  97, 99, [100] (morning)        //        94, 95 (evening)
1 Samuel 16:1-13a
Ephesians 3:14-21
Matthew 8:18-27

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's readings include a wonderful prayer (Ephesians) and a picture of stability in the midst of challenge and chaos (Matthew).

Let's start with the prayer.  Read it slowly.  Claim this prayer for yourself.

I pray that, according to the riches of God's glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through God's Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

What a marvelous prayer.  It strengthens us with God's power and grounds us in God's love, inspiring our trust that Christ dwells in our hearts.  Our source and root and grounding is love, for God is love -- love so broad and long, so high and deep that it surpasses all we can know, and fills us with God's own life.  With the indwelling of divine love breathing us into being, we are empowered to accomplish more than we can imagine, to the glory of Christ.  This is a description of our daily inheritance.  Each morning we are invited to accept this gift of loving presence to empower our day.

Will Christ's presence be enough to sustain us through what we must face?  What does that love-in-action look like?  We see Christ's stabilizing presence in the stories from Matthew's gospel.

Some people face homelessness or other threats to their security.  Jesus himself knows their plight and lives with them -- "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."  I have known homeless neighbors who could speak with such authenticity about their trust in Jesus.  For some, Jesus is their only hope, for they have nothing of themselves.  They know Jesus is with them and near them.  I've looked into their eyes, hopeful eyes, and I've recognized the deep trust in Jesus, who they know will not let them down.

Some people find themselves in deadly, life-crushing circumstances.  Trapped, stuck, weighed down, oppressed.  Jesus liberates us from death.  "Let the dead bury their own dead."  Jesus offers us resurrection and enough self-definition to enable us to separate from unhealthy dependencies and to live with authenticity and power.

Many of us experience times of chaos, when we feel overwhelmed, like we are sinking and swamped.  Jesus is in the boat with us.  He can rebuke the winds that we fear will overcome us; he can bring calm to our raging seas.  Dwelling within us, in the center of our being, Jesus is the stillpoint of peace. 

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen. 

Lowell
_____________


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location
-- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church

is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org


Our Rule of Life: 

We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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