Something to think and pray about this weekI Googled the "other sheep" bit 'cause it sounded unfamiliar, and reading it I remembered CAUMC-Gary talking about it -- that idea that Jesus had followers unknown to his disciples; though in reading it now, it sounds (to me) more like, "There are other people out there who will be receptive to my voice, and I am going to them." (And interestingly, the whole John 10 leans heavily on the "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through me" idea -- which, given that it is the Gospel of John makes sense.)
‘They will listen to my voice.' said Jesus (John 10:16). How do I imagine that voice? A hectoring father? A nagging mother? A moralising preacher? A roaring sergeant-major? No, it is the voice of a lover, who knows me in my uniqueness and calls me by name. Of all that you say here, Lord, your last words hearten me most: ‘I must bring the other sheep also, so there will be one flock, one shepherd.' As humankind grows older, we long for unity, for an end to the needless divisions that cripple us. Be a good shepherd to all who visit Sacred Space. We find here a unity in hearing your words and communing with you.
14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.What really struck me from the actual Sacred Space posting, though, was: ‘They will listen to my voice.' said Jesus (John 10:16). [...] it is the voice of a lover, who knows me in my uniqueness and calls me by name.
Friday 14 NovemberI like that reminder that the more we make the effort to connect with God, the more we feel God's presence.
The more we call on the Lord
the more we can feel His Presence.
Day by day He draws us closer
to His loving heart.
Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war.When I got to that second line, I immediately thought of a previous Sacred Space post Adelheid had made recently on a slightly different kind of freedom; the provided text was: "Lord, may I never take the gift of freedom for granted. You gave me the great blessing of freedom of spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and Your joy."
I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom.
I pray for all prisoners and captives.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.In some ways, "What am I (should I be) working on? What are challenges?" is easier than "Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life?" But since like mid-September I've been feeling like there are a lot of indicators that I should be more serious about doing some sort of work around helping people dialogue -- probably ecumenical/interfaith or cross-aisle political, rather than broader conflict mediation work. Of course, sometimes I get so aggravated with people, and get so exhausted dealing with (mediating between) different personalities -- so it's definitely a growth area, as well :)
If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
Luke 17:26-36Heh, in spaces like CWM I often find myself dissatisfied with the alternatives to male language and feeling like really some male language is fine, but in any space that does use male language I find myself frustrated and want it to be more inclusive. (Male language for the incarnated Jesus is fine since it's historically accurate, but "Son of Man" feels like too much -- maybe because I feel like the point was that God incarnated, not that God incarnated in male form?)
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. 28Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them 30-it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. 32Remember Lot's wife. 33Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. 34I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.'*
Help me, Lord, to notice how you are speaking to me.
I'm also not really into End Times and Rapture and all that, so I'm inclined to focus on the takeaway here as being: "Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it." Which is a really difficult thing to wrap one's head around in some ways, but I like the idea that we are not to cling to our lives (including our habits and routines, including our perceptions and plans for how our lives "should" be) but to give everything over to God. (Recently -- though I forget the context -- I was thinking of that old line, "let go and let God.")
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?Okay, I'm not so much a fan of this. I approve of reflecting on how I've been moved or not moved, but this visualization exercise feels incredibly cheesy to me -- I think because my default is to assume that God is always listening, and I can always talk to God, so while in some contexts the idea of consciously turning to/ward God is really useful and important, here it jars me out of place and makes me feel like I'm being condescended to (er, no offense intended to any for whom this visualization and the explicit exhortation thereto is in fact meaningful/powerful).
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,***
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
I'd been thinking recently about whether I would do anything for Advent this year, but it didn't actually occur to me until this morning that I'd already been telling Adelheid that I should look into doing Sacred Space since I really don't do much steady devotional stuff.