My Hope is in the Lord

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But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

At the start of the year, I chose the word “hope” as my word for the year. It’s a simple word that holds a lot of promise.

Interestingly, I have to remind myself of my word EVERY day. I seem to loose hope at the slightest disappointment and forget who holds the world in the palm of His hand. I forget to hope.

Finances, deaths, disease, job loss, family struggles, and so much more can pile onto a person’s soul and suck the hope right out of their life. Don’t do it. Don’t lose your hope.

How any times has the Lord given me hope? How many times has He picked me up from the gutter? How many times must He prove His love for me?

This is Lent…a season of preparation for Jesus’s death on the cross and ultimate resurrection. I imagine there wasn’t a lot of hope on that dark and sad day. But hope was renewed three days later as Jesus rose from the grave.

Nothing is beyond the reach of God. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is without hope. I am glad I chose that word for this year and I intend to remind myself each and every day to never, never, give up hope.

I am standing on the promises of God, my savior.

 

Lord, Save Us!

    

Psalm 118:25

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Lent is a traditional time of self reflection and soul-searching.

In reality… I should do this daily. My soul needs to be renewed, refreshed, searched, and recharged. My soul gets weary.

I cry out to God… Lord, save us! Save this land, save my loved ones, and save us from a bountiful harvest of sins.

I know He hears us. I know He hears me. I pray He grants success to all who call upon His name.

Amen and amen.

Peace of the Lord

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Every Sunday, I sit and worship and wait patiently to hear these words “May the peace of the Lord be always with you!”

I know these words by heart and I can say them to myself at any time. But, I like hearing them repeated in the glorious and peaceful Cathedral sanctuary. I am focused, obsessed and desiring to obtain that peace from God.

This is my favorite season of worship as I relive the long, torturous, and dusty road to Calvary. A horrific journey for Jesus who wishes to grant us grace and peace. A journey that is both tragic and triumphant.

This Lenten season I am writing for myself. I am writing for anyone who cares to read. I am writing for God. I am writing.

Peace…

Late Night Theology – Lent 8

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Some nights sleep eludes me and my brain goes into overdrive. Some nights, I solve the problems of the world all by myself in the wee hours of the morning. Some nights, I can’t solve any problems including going to sleep.

The good thing is that I don’t have to solve anything. Not really.

I’m studying the book of John right now and the exchange between Jesus and His disciples really hits deep. It goes as follows:

Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. John 16:29-32

This specific passage comes into play just before Jesus leaves the Upper Room to pray in the Garden of Gethsamane. In just “a little while”, these disciples who “now believe” won’t be able to watch with Jesus for one hour and will scatter just as He predicts.

I love these guys. They give me hope. The disciples have followed Jesus, worshiped with Jesus, dined with Jesus and been personally CHOSEN by Jesus and they just don’t get it. They walk with our Lord and they are blind.

…yet Jesus loves them.

It is hard to be perfect and it is especially hard to be a perfect Christian. I relish the fact that those closest to Him were so incredibly imperfect. But they eventually become something more. They live up to their calling.

Oh that it may be so for us.

Quiet Please – Lent 5

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I crave silence. I crave a peace-filled moment.

Sometimes when I visit my parents’ graves, I sit on the bench and I am still. I sit and do nothing other than glory in the quiet and peacefulness. The occasional birdcall is welcome as is the gentle breeze on my face. But for the most part, I just sit. It is glorious.

Pretty soon we will celebrate Maundy Thursday watch. This is a time when we sit in prayerful silence in the sanctuary. It is a time to reflect upon the night that Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane; the night His disciples could not watch with him for just one hour without falling asleep. It was a night that Jesus spent alone in prayer with the Father.

I haven’t missed a night watch in over 20 years. Next to Christmas Eve Mass and Easter Sunday, it is my favorite day on the church calendar.

There is something so holy about sitting quietly and pausing from this busy life to seek the face of God. If you sit quietly enough, you hear the creak of the church, the scurry of feet, the groan of the building as it sways with the earth. And sometimes, just sometimes, you hear a still small voice in your soul saying it will all be right with the world. Jesus has overcome the world.

Somehow we are reminded that without a moment of silence, words can lose their meaning. That is the moment when silence really is golden.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)

Lent 3 – Are you Fit?

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I am very competitive. I just can’t help myself.

Recently, my husband purchased a FitBit for me which is an instrument worn on the wrist, like a bracelet, that tracks your steps per day. It did not take me long to get hooked on this nifty device.

Even more rewarding was learning that many of my friends regularly compete in daily, weekly and monthly contests to see who walks the most and is therefore celebrated as a winner. This new “toy” was tailor-made for me

What is it about us that we need to compete? It’s not all bad, but it can be. When the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus, she makes a ridiculous request. She asks that her sons be given the right to sit at the left and right sides of Jesus in glory, It doesn’t take long for Jesus to rebuke her. “…whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave” (Matt. 20:27). I don’t think Jesus can be more clear on this point.

Today I watched a young father comfort his son who had just participated in a losing softball game. It’s a hard lesson in life that we can’t always be winners and in fact, we are more often losers given the standards of this world. But for me, that young father got it right when he taught his young boy that there is simply glory in living to fight another day while giving your best effort for what is right.

During this season of Lent, it’s good to remember that competition is not what matters. What matters is remembering the ultimate prize and that is a lifetime spent in the presence of the Lord. It doesn’t get better than that.

A Right Spirit – Lent Two

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Yesterday was not one of my better days.

It is so easy for me to allow myself to get bogged down in the mundane daily trials of life. One word of discouragement can lead to a day filled with anxiety and disappointment.

What a waste of a perfectly good day.

By day’s end, I had started my Lenten walk by attending Ash Wednesday services. During the service, we recited the 51st Psalm. What struck me was Verse 11: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”.

I’m worried about the trivial but God is worried about my heart. I’ll stick with God and worry less about myself. He knows what is important and uses a solemn service to remind me…

…and I’m glad.

Ash Wednesday

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“Peace I leave with you.” John 14:27

I am the kind of person that once immersed in a great book will often flip to the last few pages so I know the ending. Some may think this is cheating and not very considerate of the author’s buildup to the conclusion of the story. Others are probably just like me. We like to know the end at the beginning.

And so it goes with the season of Lent. I love this time of the year in the church calendar and I look forward to spending time in thought, word and deed as we recall the ultimate sacrifice and triumphant resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a hard journey for those who take it seriously.

However, I love Lent because I know the end at the beginning.

In John 14 we hear Jesus telling the disciples that soon He won’t be with them in this world. Jesus knows that He must leave His followers in order to fulfill prophecy and return to the Father. I’m certain this was a cause of great concern for the disciples. But Jesus constantly reassures them that He will send a helper, a comforter, and a counselor to them.

This remains an important part of the the lenten journey. We need to remember that God chooses us and we are not alone. We are adopted by Him and deeply loved.

Together, we are going to take the next few weeks to walk the weary path to Calvary. It is a tough reminder of a sacrificial life given for our sins. Jesus was blameless, we are not.

I’m ready to remember but I’m also ever confident in a God that constantly comforts us. Won’t you join me?