Thursday, May 28, 2015

Forward Day by Day: Meditations in May 2015

[Photo: Dog is My Co-Pilot: Luis & I look forward day by day]
The publication Forward Day by Day gives us meditations on scriptures assigned to the day by our good old Book of Common Prayer.  These pamphlets are expendable, but I mark bits that I want to remember.  This month's meditations got as many checks as I usually give to three months' worth!  They are all the work of Richard H. Schmidt, former editor of the publication.  Find out more at .

John 14:13,  I will do whatever you ask in my name.  Sounds like magic!  But to act in a person's name means "to do what that person would do if he or she were present."  I'd like to post a link to this one as a response to every Facebook posting that asks us to pray for such-and-such a team to win the big game or for good luck.

John 15:4 Abide in me.  Our translation "abide" is for a Greek word meno that implies long-term intentional relationship, Schmidt tells us.  "One does not 'abide' in a hotel room [or] parking space," but at home, "the backdrop of our lives -- an atmosphere we breathe in and out."  We...
...clean, cook, eat, wash, pay the bills, run errands, raise our children, brush our teeth, pick up our clothes, read the paper, entertain friends, make a living, make the bed, make amends, make love, make do.  It is neither necessary nor helpful to think or talk about Jesus all the time -- so long as we abide in him.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands... Schmidt knows what we're thinking, and calms us down: "Many readers miss the context of this verse, namely, the lordship of Jesus Christ," so, "It's not about hierarchy."  Jesus turns "upside-down" all "cultural norms."  In his own marriage, Schmidt and his wife have learned to both lead and follow. "So who's in charge, here?  Jesus...the server and the servant."

Luke 9:24 Those who want to save their life will lose it... "Don't worry about life after death.  Make sure you have life before death."  A life self-absorbed is already dead.

Luke 12:22, 25 Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  Schmidt gives us worriers good advice.  "Most things we worry about aren't as big as we think," and it's "okay" that nothing can avert disappointment and pain.  Then, "Helping someone elese deal with ...struggles can take our minds off our own." Finally recall that God "has a long history of bringing good out of evil."

Luke 9:62 No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.  Schmidt asks how a church, or any project, can be judged "a success."  It's always by looking back at last year's pledges, attendance, whatever, and it's always an incomplete picture.  "Look forward, not back."

Looking back comes up in the next meditation, too: Luke 10:3, lambs in the midst of wolves. "I've been bitten by church wolves" Schmidt says. "It does little good to go back and relive the times we've been attacked," though it's instructive to ask, "When have I been a wolf?"

Luke 10:29 And who is my neighbor?  Schmidt points out that both the Good Samaritan and the injured man represent aspects of Jesus.  Giving help, and trusting someone who offers help, both involve risk, and both can lead to good.

Luke 10:42.  There is need of only one thing.  But what is that thing?  Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs isn't it.  It's not worrying about the dinner dishes as Martha does.  But, there is no final answers, here. "What do you think it is?"  Good question, Mr. Schmidt.

Ezekiel 37:4.  O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.  "The church sometimes feels like a collection of dry bones, cherishing its brittle, lifeless relics from a bygone day while being tossed aside by a new generation."  God can make them live again, but not the same old way: "The new will incorporate the old, but it will not be identical to the old.  It will surpass the old.  It will astonish."

About the Prodigal Son story, Schmidt asks, "Where was the prodigal son's mother?"

2 Corinthians 3:18.  And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as through reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. So, heaven is not the endpoint, but "a perpetual journey, ascending ever deeper and higher into the light."

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