Category Archives: holy

God’s Outrageous Promise

Genesis 18: 1–15

A Son Promised to Abraham and Sarah

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

 

You turn up in the strangest of ways Lord.

As I sit
doing nothing really,
resting from the heat,
taking the air.

As strangers passing by
who I can’t help but invite in,
to offer respite from their journey,
shade from the heat,
an opportunity to wash,
refresh and feed.

And in them,
in that action
you speak to me.

God of presence
how will you appear to me?

Who are you bringing before me today?

Who are the strangers
who have so much to teach me,
to show me,
to point me to you,
to truth,
to hope?

Who are you asking me to entertain,
to feed,
to give rest?

Who are you calling me to tend,
to care for,
to refresh?

To listen to?

To receive from?

Who is bringing your word to me
that I might have missed
if I hadn’t invited them in?

How are you going to speak to me?

Please don’t play with me God
you know the pain I carry
deep within,
the feeling of failure,
of emptiness,
of letting this precious man down.

Don’t toy with my emotions
and allow me to hope.

My hope is gone,
my time is over,
what I believed was my purpose
has slipped by.

And yet
you turn up
and make an outrageous promise.

God of promise
who made such an outrageous promise to Sarah,
what promises are you making to me today?

What are you calling me to
that I can’t believe?

What are you asking me to trust you about?

What faith, trust, promise can I carry for you today?

I offer you what I have,
however I feel about it
and leave you
to do the rest.

Bless me
in the unexpected,
the outrageous,
in giving
and in receiving.

May I see you,
invite you in,
hear you
and join with you
on an outrageous journey of faith.

 

A Warm Heart

Diane Griffiths / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

 

This is my offering for our Circuit Daily Devotions this week.  This is a shortened version, if you want to hear the full version, you can find it here

On Sunday it will be Aldersgate Sunday, commemorating the day John Wesley’s life changed forever.  The day that he had an experience of God that ‘warmed his heart’. You can read more about it here.

This is an account of his day from his diary

Wednesday May 24, 1738.

What occur’d on Wedn. 24, I think best to relate at large, after premising what might make it the better understood.  Let him that cannot receive it, ask of the Father of Lights, that he would give more Light both to him and to me.

I think it was about five this Morning, that I opened my Testament on those words, “There are given unto us exceeding great and precious Promises, even that ye should be partakers in the divine Nature.” 2 Pet. i. 4.  Just as I went out, I open’d it again on those Words, “Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God.”  In the Afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s.  The Anthem was, “Out of the Deep have I call’d unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my Voice.  O let thine Ears consider well the Voice of my Complaint.  If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it?  But there is Mercy with thee; therefore thou shalt be feared.  O Israel, trust in the Lord: For with the Lord there is Mercy, and with him is plenteous Redemption.  And he shall redeem Israel from all his Sins.”

In the Evening I went very unwillingly to a Society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  About a Quarter before nine.  While he was describing the Change which God works in the Heart thro’ faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warm’d.  I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for Salvation: And an Assurance was given me, That He had taken away my Sins, even mine, and saved me from the Law of Sin and Death.

– John Wesley

The Message puts 2 Peter 1:4 like this:

Don’t Put It Off

3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

And the part of Luther’s Preface to the Letter of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans reads

Faith is a work of God in us, which… makes us completely different people in heart, mind, senses and all our powers…

Translated by Bro Andrew Thornton, St Anselm Abbey

We are going to use a combination of these to guide our time with God as we reflect on what it means for us in our situation.

If you would like a text version of the meditation, you can find it here: 200522

 

The anthem is Psalm 130. This is a beautiful modern rendition of that Psalm

Meeting Me As I Weep – Taking Me To A New Place

John 20:11-18 The Message 

11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.

 

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

He called my name,
gently,
lovingly,
that tender voice I knew so well.

I knew it was him.

This was no figment of my imagination,
a hallucination in my distress.
This is him – Jesus.

Different, but still my Jesus.

Here with me.
In all that is going on,
and all that will be.
Ever present.
Knowing me.
Loving me.

He stands by me in my weeping
and takes me on.

He is here.

He’s not dead, he’s alive.
He still knows me and calls to me.

I’ve got to go and tell.
They’ve got to know.

 

I hear you Lord,
calling my name.
Into my confusion,
my despair,
my pain,
my questioning.

You stay with me
in my weeping.
You call my name.
Tenderly,
reassuringly,
filled with love
and comfort.
Bringing hope
and peace.

I hear you,
find you,
know you afresh.

And in my time
I go
and tell
that you are here.
you are not gone,
distant,
dead

you are alive

On this most poignant of Easter days, God remains with us. He has not gone, but stands with us in our weeping and leads us on. Hope dawns again.