Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Epiphany 3
January 25, 2015
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.
(1 Corinthians 16:13, NRSV)
I love the fluffy white stuff. Whether it covers the surface thinly or with a greater thickness. Whether it is light and airy, or a bit heavier and dense. I love it in small portions and larger piles. And this time of the year I always feel blessed when it arrives. (Oh … sorry … please don’t hit me with that snow shovel … I’m talking about cake icing, not snow … sorry to mislead you.) Having just come off my birthday and little Sam’s, too, I’ve had a fair few bites of white cake icing. The cake is fine too, I suppose, but from my perspective, it serves primarily as an icing delivery system. If manners allowed it, I would just scoop the icing off the cake, and leave the cake as a barren apocalyptic wasteland. But manners disallow this practice I crave. <sigh> … sometimes the world isn’t fair, right?
Of course, if cake were my only problem, I could let the treadmill solve my issues. But as usual, my cake preference is also a metaphor for my life. Sometimes I am tempted to scrape the icing off the cake that is my life, and limit my experiences to those which are familiar, or enjoyable, or predictable. Yeah, I especially like that last category. I want to limit my intake to those things which offer a “taste” of what I enjoy. Now admittedly it is not a glaring character fault, I suppose … we all travel through life making choices, and sifting pleasurable experiences from those we do not enjoy. But at some point we come to stand at that line that tempts us to cross from preference to avoidance, a line that seeks security over growth. These are rarely the choices that lead to maturity and satisfaction in life.
The road that leads through life, of course, passes through the same ground as our faith lives. So we face the same challenges in our life with God that we do with the cake of our everyday existence. So, in your prayer life this week, give a bit of thought to those places in your spiritual journey where you regularly avoid the places God challenges you … the places God may speak a word you don’t wish to hear … the places God may have a different path in mind for you. How can you know where these places can be found? Come on … you know exactly where those places of avoidance are in your life – those places God has led you time and time again – places you have resisted. Pray for courage; pray for wisdom and insight; pray for discernment; pray for strength. Pray for all those charisms with which God will gift you, when you tackle those places of greatest challenge in your life of faith.
Into your hands, almighty God, we place ourselves: our minds to know you, our hearts to love you, our wills to serve you, for we are yours. Into your hands, incarnate Savior, we place ourselves: receive us and draw us after you, that we may follow your steps; abide in us and enliven us by the power of your indwelling. Into your hands, O hovering Spirit, we place ourselves: take us and fashion us after your image; let your comfort strengthen, your grace renew, and your fire cleanse us, soul and body, in life and in death, in this world of shadows and in your changeless world of light eternal, now and forever. Amen.
~~ A Prayer for Commitment, ELW, Occasional Service Book