The Power At Work

Scripture Focus for Today

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 Psalm 18:16-17  16 He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters. 17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.

Reflections on Scripture

The phrase that jumped off the page for me as I read today’s scripture was “he delivered me from those who were too mighty for me.” Many people are apprehensive about the current situation being played out in the Middle East. We find ourselves in a situation of uncertainty about the consequences that might accrue when one nation initiates an act of aggression against another nation that has little tolerance for our ideologies and policies. We’re asking ourselves, “Will there be war?” “How long will this back-and-forth retaliation go on?” “How long will the political leaders continue to disregard the broad implications of their actions?”

Some people believe that we have only a few physical options at our disposal, including our capacity to vote and raise our voices in dissent. Both of these options are critical. Even so, these people are on the verge of a panic about the destructive potential of superpowers who threaten to destroy us.

Then, there are those of us who believe in exercising our spiritual options. We believe that God is greater than the “powers that be” on this earth. We believe that God will move in God’s own way and time to deal with this turbulence. God is our deliverer who will speak stillness into our spiritual unrest. Our God will reach down from on high and draw us out of mighty waters.

Prayer Response

Almighty God, nothing is too hard for you. We believe that You will move in this situation with Your powerful hand. You will act exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we could ask or even imagine. You are in control. And we give you all the glory. Amen.

The Immanuel Mosaic

Scripture Focus for Today

Matthew 2:9-12 2:9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Reflections on Scripture

Having welcomed the Christ child, my life’s journey has taken a different path. I can see clearly now. After all these years, I am now able to recognize myself as a shard in an eternally magnificent mosaic. Without a doubt, I am small in relation to the cosmic whole. Yet, my position in the portrait is undeniable. I contribute a unique hue and a rare aspect to the picture. My brokenness dovetails with the sharp edges of those around me. My shard brings balance to the hole. Without my presence, the mosaic would be incomplete. My absence would leave a big gap where my gemstone should have been. I was created to fill the particular space in the mosaic that I now occupy, interfacing and meshing with those around me in a grand design. I am persuaded that holding down this position has been the purpose of my life.

Prayer Response

Holy God, thank you for your eternal plan. Though I am broken, I am a self-contained complex – mind, body, spirit – suspended in perfect balance. You placed something Divine in me that tethers me to the Source. Immanuel. God is with us. We are one. Amen.

The Hope to Which We are Called

Inspired by Ephesians 1:18 (NRSV) “with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.”

Our house sits on the southwest corner of an intersection. If you stand in front of our living room window, you have the view of a neighborhood in transition, one that is barely holding on to its dignity. It’s a neighborhood where children are dying and residents are losing hope.

The other day, I observed a group of teachers marching around the school up the block. Brandishing picket signs and chanting in unison, they advertised to all who cared to listen that they were on strike.

By now, the teachers were close enough so I could read the fine print on their placards. Lower class sizes. Social workers. Counselors. Librarians and Nurses. Time for teachers to prepare. Respect and adequate pay.

At one point, the procession paused in front of the abandoned house across the street. Against that backdrop, I remembered teenagers who used to hang out in small groups on the front stoop. I saw the cars that used to stop in the middle of the street as money and packages were exchanged through open windows. I pictured the young man who stumbled out of the car after he had been shot by his companion while playing with a gun. I recalled the posture of their grandfather as he stood there looking worn down and defeated.

Be that as it may. Through the eyes of my heart, I visualized a level playing field, where young men and women did not have to hang out on stoops because they had no place else to go. I fantasized about a world where everyone had an equal chance for success. I fixed my sights on a system where structural racism, poverty, and despair had been eliminated.

As the picketers continued to march, I cheered them on! And, I prayed for them as they shouldered the burdens of society-at-large, chanting and fighting the good fight on behalf of the next generation.