Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Word For Today - Daily Office

This was a tough one - so many favorite readings in the Daily Office this morning... for instance:
Isaiah 55:6-11 where we are admonished to seek God... how God's ways are higher than ours, God's thoughts are deeper than ours... and how God's word always bears fruit... a great text.

Then there was Galatians 5:1-15, where Paul shows the excellence of the way of love, it is the sum of all God's commands... that what really counts (as I remember Dr. Greathouse saying so often, is faith expressing itself in love... another great text.

But then, I also came to the gospel reading from Mark 8 (the hinge of Mark's gospel and one of my all time favorite texts as I recall the number of sermons preached from Mark 8:27-9:1) - if we would follow Christ, we must "turn from our selfish ways, take up our cross, and follow Jesus."

But it was the prayer book of Israel that spoke most powerfully today (not so much to me, as it spoke for me, as the Psalms regularly do - expressing our deepest cries of pain, praises, and hopes)... 

Psalm 71:18-22 Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God. I will sing praises to you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

Today, Psalm 71 became my word for the day... It confesses my deep hope, that even in life after traditional pastoral leadership, that God will use me to encourage and help a new generation of preachers to proclaim the gospel with passion and power... my hope that God will take the hardships, pains, and sufferings of my life (including those inflicted by God's own people) to give life, counsel, and hope to other pastors who are going through the fire in their churches... my hope that, though I may not use harp or lyre to do it, the praise of God will ever be on my lips - because God, who is ever worthy of praise is faithful!

Soli Deo gloria

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