Sunday, February 02, 2014

Looking Backward at Forward Day by Day, from Advent 2013

The publication Forward Day by Day gives us each day a short meditation on a sentence found in the scripture passages assigned for that day in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer.  Some of these strike me more than others, and I use this space to compile the ones I want to remember.

For December 16, writer Rev. Scott Gunn chose a piece of Zechariah 1:17, a prophecy that "My cities shall again overflow with prosperity."  He cites another wise saying from a computer programmer: "Nothing simple happens by accident."  A meal may appear simple when it's on the plate, but some dishes had to be prepared far in advance of others to arrive at the same time.  Gunn wonders if, "maybe the glorious vision of justice promised by God begins now, in our own homes, our own hearts, our own churches, and our own cities." 

Storyteller Cathy Hood Culmer wrote the meditations for January. 

Culmer highlights the passage I Kings 19:7, when Elijah, tired and hungry, begging for death, is visited by an angel that says, "Get up and eat."  Shortly, Elijah was over his despair, up and doing his work.  No comment needed, here, about how easily we can fall into self-pity and despair -- and how much difference some food makes!

The next page has this wise paragraph:  "What's the difference between trusting and turning something over to God, and just being lazy and not doing the thing for ourselves.... [D]o what you can and trust God for the outcome."  It's a response to the story of Jesus' rescuing the disciples in storm-swamped boat (John 6:21).

Genesis 12:1 doesn't get a whole lot more from Culmer than amplification of the decision at the root of everything we call faith and religion:  Abraham's heeding God's call to leave everything he knows to go "see" a land promised to his descendants.   "It is the call of faith to follow without knowing , to follow without seeing."

Responding to Galatians 1:24 ("And they glorified God because of me"), Culmer writes that an artist's effort is to make his work appear to be effortless.  Culmer's punchline is, we are God's artwork, and our lifetime is the effort that he and we put into our forming, "so that others might see the work and glorify the Lord."  Ah!

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