The picture of strawberries? Just because it’s that time of year….
Lectionary readings: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Lamentations 3:21-33; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43
The ancient Hebrew people’s understanding of God’s presence had always been based in their belief that they were God’s people and he met exclusively with them in the Temple in Jerusalem. The book of Lamentations is a series of ‘laments’ that originated during the time after Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians and the people exiled from their homeland. The lamentations were a reminder that they could not assume God’s unbridled protection from their enemies simply because they were God’s people. They are also reminders that God was present in their trouble.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord. – Lamentations 3:21-26 (NIV)
The readings today share a theme of love and care. It’s not an easy thing to feel loved when the walls of trouble are closing in but God asks us to hope. Our hope is based in his compassion and our experience of his faithfulness. In times of distress the author’s advice is ‘… to wait quietly…’
The reading in 2 Corinthians is a beautiful and interesting reminder to the people of God to help take care of others from the extra that we have. Not to the point of starving ourselves but with the recognition that it is the right thing to do and blessings can be returned if we find ourselves in need.
These passages remind us of the importance and benefits of loving God and our neighbour.
Have there been times when God provided or intervened for you? Retell the stories to yourself to reinforce them and determine to share when you have opportunity.
Do you willingly help those in need? As you’re able and without begrudging?
How are you with ‘waiting quietly’? How can you build that ‘faith muscle’?
Pray: (an ancient, famous prayer)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. – St Francis
O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of Your Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore You,
a heart to delight in You,
to follow and to enjoy You,
for Christ’s sake.
St Ambrose of Milan, 337–397 AD
Today is Canada Day in our wonderful nation. I’m increasingly aware of how special it is.
Have a safe and blessed holiday weekend and take time to be thankful!
Wonderful words. Very relevant at this time as Laura is laid up with a badly sprained ankle and cannot do much, so having an abundance of energy and love for her, knowing that it comes from God to bless her, makes it a joy to take on all responsibility so she can heal, and watch World Cup all day!