Daily Prayer :: Water

Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

March 2, 2021 — Grace embraced you

Today’s Bible reading

Romans 6:1-2 — What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

More thoughts for meditation

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) Jesus describes how a younger son gets his inheritance from his father and goes off to squander it. He eventually came home disgraced and desperate. The father came running to meet him on the road to welcome and restore him with undeserved honor. Imagine the story continuing a few years later to include the son plotting to do it all again, banking on the same response from his father. Should we go on sinning so that grace can multiply? No, grace changes us. Once we have received the forgiveness and grace of God, we are changed people. Even when we continue to struggle against sin, it is not as the people we used to be. God’s grace has already embraced us and we cannot forget it. As children of God, we each have a story to tell about our belovedness that is not based on an ability to earn it. 

Suggestions for action

Have you told that story to yourself recently? How is it that God’s grace and restoration are at work in your life? Make a list of the graces you receive today. Note even the small things that restore you. Picture yourself as the one who is embraced in the painting above and thank God for the grace you receive.

John Wesley has influenced us so much! Remember his death today and learn about his legacy at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

March 1, 2021 — The main ingredient

Today’s Bible reading

Romans 6:4 — Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.

More thoughts for meditation

Friends of mine are avid bakers. For years they have perfected the art of making pastries, desserts and breads. Now the household is gluten free for the sake of one member who gets sick.They cleared out the old ingredients and started experimenting with new ones, changed their habits and learned new recipes. They embraced a new, gluten-free life. Taking this on doesn’t stop them from baking but they have a whole new way of thinking and operating. 

Embracing a new life in Christ doesn’t make us ‘sin-free’ but it does involve a new way of thinking and operating. We will need to clear some things out of our lives and embrace new habits. But it starts with realizing that sin is buried in death with Jesus. The main ingredient at work in us is resurrection life! The power that sin once had no longer rules – it has been put to death. 

Suggestions for action

A Lenten fast is one way to remember that who you are now is different from who you were. It is a bodily reminder that in Christ sin has died and we live a life that is not ruled by sin and death. Giving up something is a physical reminder that sin does not rule you. Your body can help you enact this truth. Another option is to add a new discipline to remind you that you are embracing a new life lived for Christ. It is not too late to try this as a way to make meaning out of this season. Leave something behind or embrace something new as a way to walk in the newness of life that is yours in Christ.

February 28, 2021 — Freedom FOR

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet by Ann Lukesh

Today’s Bible reading

Read Romans 6

Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.– Romans 6:17

More thoughts for meditation

We are not freed to be free from the annoyance, or bad feeling, or dissatisfaction, or disgust, or whatever else happens inside of us when we are enslaved. We are not just freed from, we are freed FOR. Our purpose is righteousness because our freedom’s purpose was righteousness. We are bound to the intention of the author of our freedom, Christ our Lord. Bound – bonded – enslaved. Slavery is not very attractive to us. It was not very attractive to Paul’s reader’s either, even if slavery in Paul’s day and age WAS different from the system of slavery that plagued our history and present with its legacy.

Positive freedom is a philosophical idea that acknowledges not just the external impediment on a person to do what they want, but the internal freedom to act as they desire. As a concept it is closely connected with “self-mastery.”

As Christians we have a desire for self-mastery in one sense, but it is a self-mastery FOR submission to our heavenly master. If we are too internally disorganized, our new allegiance to Jesus, our Lord and Master,  is of little consequence. But there is so much real evil in the world that requires our agency and efficacy. Our freedom is FOR many, many people and things. On the second Sunday of Lent, we are marking our progress in this communal journey toward better self-understanding as who we are and WHOSE we are, so that we can offer ourselves and our efforts FOR others.    

Suggestions for action

Do a spiritual check in. How is it going on this journey? In the past 24 hours when did you go left when you meant to go right? When did you look down when you meant to go up? When did you zig when you wanted to zag? Remember, right, up and zag are not necessarily righteous. We are reforming our will to do what we intend so that we can offer our reliable self to the master and what he would have us do. This is one of the main benefits of Lent: that we learn to do what we intend, notice when we don’t, and adjust course when we realize.

Today is John Cassian Day! Read about one of the most influential contemplatives and monastics from way back in the fourth century on Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body

February 27, 2021 — Two Minds

Today’s Bible reading

Read Matthew 21:28-32

“What do you think? A man had two sons. Now he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
“‘No, I don’t want to,’ he replied. But later he changed his mind and went.
 “The father said the same thing to the other son, who replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ But he didn’t go.
“Which one of these two did his father’s will?”
They said, “The first one.”

Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you. For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him.

More thoughts for meditation

Another question, “Of the two first sons, which one did the father’s will?” And another question, “Who is the first son? The one who said no to his father’s face, or the one who went and did what his father said?” Likewise “Of the two second sons, which one did not do the father’s will?” and “Who is the second son? The one who said yes to his father’s face or the one who went and refused to do his father’s will, nor his own will at the moment of his answer?”

We are not as strong as we think we are. We have things far less understood than we think. We must occasionally see (better if we often see) that we are weak and in need. Why do I so often cling to my own understanding? Why do I demand so much from such a tiny, disorganized self? Must I deny that I am indeed a slave so as to save myself from the shame, and so go on being in service to something I am not even sure is within me or without me? Who am I? Who decides?

Let us give ourselves up to Jesus. Let us let him have his way. Will he be your master? (A difficult image, “Master”, that comes from our  “Theme Chapter” for Lent, Romans 6.) Let us let him decide who we are for he has indeed done so. Christ died on the cross to show you who he says you are. You are the one he loved enough to die for. Together, we are his children, the heirs of all he has, which is everything. Everything he has is ours. And he gave everything so we would open our eyes and see. And then open up our hearts and lives and do as he tells us. Why do we fight for something we don’t really want instead of taking what he gives and we need?

Suggestions for action

Try this breath prayer: Inhale: I am yours Exhale: You are mine.

Maybe you want to sing it: Try this oldie by David Gate

Also, today is Fred Rogers Day! Honor this man who used his fame for good at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body

« Older posts