Good Afternoon! (Note: again, the personal pronouns in today’s prayer are plural. We are not praying and reading in isolation; we are joining our prayers and thoughts with others in our community.) 1) Pray.
Take a deep breath, then be still for a moment; then pray, perhaps,
Gracious God, entirely present everywhere in every moment, be present with each of us this day. Assure us that you are present to each of us as individuals, and remind us that your are with us as a gathered community as well, even in these days when we are physically separated. Meet us now, we pray. Guide our thoughts and our hearts. Comfort us. Encourage us. Empower us to live with you and for you, in these moments and through this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 2) Now, Something Different Even before I knew today’s edition was going to be tardy, I was resolved to do something different today. Because I, like lots of other folks I know, can use a break from things being hard and discouraging. (If, and only if, you are interested in an odd detour my Bible explorations took me on today, I’ve put a short description below. It’s of no significance, but someone might find it wryly interesting.)* So, just because I can, I am pleased to pass on to you a couple of links to things relevant to our current situation that are simply silly, or fun, or funny, or encouraging, or inspiring, or absurd, or a relief, or a waste of time, or offensive (I really hope not, but you never know) depending on your mood, circumstances, and sense of humor. Plus the 'images' at the top. They didn’t cut/paste into this mailing too well, but do the best you can to make them work. Enjoy.
https://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/john-krasinski-some-good-news-video-with-steve-carell-47352056 Try to look at these with somebody, or connect w/ someone after you give these a look. Fun and funny things are funnier and more fun when they’re shared. As I said, it seems to me that we need a break. Yesterday I imagined God being playful and saying, “Be careful about leaving your face all scrunched up like that. It might get stuck that way.” Lord, give us a sabbath Tuesday. Or Wednesday. But give us a break. Take and hold the burdens were are carrying. Take and hold us. And the suffering. And the afraid. Bring healing and hope. Use us this day to offer the same. And help us laugh, and in our laughter, help us find you in a fresh, life giving way. Amen. *(A couple of hours ago I had to latest, and I aspire to get them sent before 9:00. As I went to bed last night, having accept that I wasn’t going to get this devotion out before noon, which was frustrating. My goal is to send these little guides out every morning by noon at the failed to work ahead as I’d hoped, I encouraged myself to rise early and send today’s devotional out by 8:00. I did rise early, and I haven’t been idle. I’ve done all sorts of worthwhile, even necessary things. But it’s 1:15, and here I sit, typing.
For the last 15 minutes or so I’ve been looking at where the word, “noon,” shows up in the Bible. My online concordance of the New Revised Standard Version reports that, “noon,” shows up in the Old and New Testaments a total of thirty-seven times. And it turns out that, “noon,” carries with it some pretty dark associations in the Bible. Okay, that is an understatement. “Noon,” as far as I can tell, was an hour that folks in ancient times wished they could skip. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have looked it up. But there it is. Just so you know I’m not exaggerating:
Deuteronomy 28.29: you shall grope about at noon as blind people grope in darkness, but you shall be unable to find your way; and you shall be continually abused and robbed, without anyone to help.
2 Samuel 11.2: It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. [at first glance this verse seems innocuous, but it is the beginning the passage about David committing adultery with Bathsheba]
Psalm 91.6: … or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
Isaiah 59.10: We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead The New Testament is even bleaker. In almost every instance, “noon,” is used in the context of Jesus’ crucifixion.
What are we to make of this? Nothing. Not a thing. A chance to enjoy a little irony, perhaps, given that my plan to day was to lighten things up. Hopefully some of you who enjoyed The Far Side and Charles Adams cartoons got a grim chuckle. And hopefully I will redouble my efforts to send these opportunities for shared prayer and reflection out well before 11:00. Or 10:00 to be safe … )
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