Be Still …

crow


Devotional for Saturday, March 21

Jeremiah 17:7-8: Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.

A familiar morning blesses us in ways that barely can be captured in words. But I’ll try.

I awake this morning in the same neighborhood where I spent most of my childhood, just one house away from the home where my father still lives. The sky is gray and misty, but the air is alive with sound. The same old crow caws just before sunrise. As the sky lightens, the same doves make their rain song, and their little songbird friends join them.

They cannot be the same. I remember birds from 40 years ago. At best, they are the oh-so-great grandchildren of what was there before. And yet, they are the same, as is the train passing in the distance, pulling the hill toward downtown Jonesborough, rumbling and blowing its low horn.

There is great comfort in the familiar. For those of us raised in church, we find a similar comfort in the stories we first learned from flannel board cutout characters clinging to their fuzzy backgrounds: Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Jesus in the Manger, Jesus on the Cross, the Stone Rolled Away.

On any morning, wherever we are, whatever the situation, we have familiar places we can go simply by revisiting those stories. And if those stories are new to you—well, trust me, regardless of your age, they and all the stories surrounding them can become as familiar as any home place. 

In them, we are reminded God’s love is unchanging, even as the world seems to shift under our feet. May we all seek the Lord and find many good mornings to come.

Lord, thank you for the moments of blessed peace you continually offer us.


Image courtesy Ninel S, Pixabay

Let’s Make a Prayer

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Devotional for Friday, March 20

Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We’ve all experienced worry at some point in our lives, but I think it is safe to say more of us than usual are feeling an extended kind of anxiety right now. Isolation is hitting many of us hard. Many of our businesses and investments seem in jeopardy, and we fear any light we see in the tunnel is an oncoming train.

God has a lot to say about worry, of course. The Big Guy, with his big-picture, outside-time-and-creation view, tells us repeatedly through prophets, disciples and even the Messiah to fear not, to stop worrying. And when we grasp the big picture, we see why God is able to say this. The hard work is done—Jesus has died on the cross for our sins, and his resurrection is a foretaste of what we will experience.

None of that is to deny, however, that we are little people who perceive our lives to be lived out in one tiny brush stroke on God’s vast canvas. And we worry. So God gave us ways to seek comfort.

Let’s not simply talk today about the greatest tool God has given us, prayer. As a church, let’s join together in prayer. Let’s build a prayer list, and let’s pray over it as we see it grow.

If you’re reading this on the website, at the bottom of this devotional you’ll see either a link saying “Leave a comment,” or an actual comment box. If you’re reading from the automated email that went out, you’ll see a comment button at the bottom.

However you get to the comment section, enter your prayer requests there. We will see those build through the day. FYI, you may not see your prayer appear right away; I have to approve comments before they go on the site. I’ll check regularly for new comments, though.

You check back regularly to read them, too. And throughout the day, pray about what you see!

Lord, as we pray, may our anxieties be transformed to hope and joy. Amen.