pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Shining for All to See

Reading: Jeremiah 18: 6-11

Verse 11: “Turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions”.

In today’s reading from Jeremiah God widens the circle. The metaphor of the potter and the clay is expanded to the nation. The application extends to all nations and people groups. In verses seven through ten God outlines how this works. If a nation is doing evil it will be uprooted and torn down. But if it repents of its evil, God will relent. The reverse is also true. These verses imply that God is engaged not only in our personal spiritual lives but also in the public and corporate lives of our communities and of society.

Together people form a community. This happens at all levels. Our families and our churches are the base level and this is where our faith lives seem most evident. Our identity or our “collective life” comes from the sum of us. In a church, for example, if most of the people are friendly and welcoming, then the church will be friendly and welcoming. Jeremiah is extending our lives out further today. Jeremiah is implying that how we live out our lives of faith in our community, town, city, state, and/or nation affects the social and political realities of said groups.

As people of faith we can seek justice for all and can stand with those facing injustice. As people of faith we can seek to be positive contributors to the projects, events, and happenings in our localities. As people of faith we can care for and call others to care for the marginalized and victimized. As people of faith we can work for peace and reconciliation in our spheres of influence. As people of faith we can be strength and comfort and aide in the midst of loss, violence, and other tragedies. As people of faith we can speak words of love and understanding instead of words of hate and division.

Through Jeremiah God warns Israel and, by extension, all nations. In the last verse of our passage today we read, “Turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions”. No, as people of faith we cannot be a part of the evil or injustice or abuse or… But, yes, we are also called to live out an active and engaging faith. We are called to let our light shine for all to see. In doing so we strength not only our own faith, our families, and our churches, but our communities as well. May it be so for you and for me.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be light and love outside the walls of my home and my church. Lead me to shine your love and light out into my neighborhood, my community, and beyond. Amen.


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A Day to Pray

In one of my devotional readings today author Catherine Cavanagh tells of an experience she had in Bethlehem. She was in Israel and it happened tobe during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.  As she and her companions were sitting at a table by the main square, the nearby mosque announced the call to prayer.  She observed many Muslims headed to the mosque.  But soon it was full so they began to fill the public square in front of her and her companions.  Each unrolled their prayer mat and dropped to their knees and began praying, totally oblivious and unconcerned with anything or anyone except their time of prayer.  She was awed by this simple example of their dedication to their faith.  I too am moved when I picture the scene in my mind. As I think about this scene that unfolded before her, it also makes me wonder.  If we were to show up on a Sunday morning and our churches were all full to the brim, would we drop to our knees on the sidewalk and pray?

Outside of the church and our own private homes, Christians generally do not pray in public.  You do see it some.  A family may pray before a meal when they are out at a restaurant or a group of football players will huddle up and pray when another player has been significantly injured.  You may see a group out in a public space that prayers before they begin their Bible study.  And I don’t think people mind.  Yet we feel hesitant to pray in public at times.  We too need to be bold for our faith and to offer up a prayer when the situation calls for it or when we feel led by the Spirit to pray for someone or a situation.

So when you are out and about today, bow your head and offer up a prayer when you feel God calling you to do so.  And please remember this day to include those who were and are affected by the tragedies of 9/11.  Maybe that is just what you choose to pray about periodically throughout your day today.  Welcome and encourage the conversations that may come from others seeing you in prayer.  A chance to share our faith is always a good thing!!

Scripture reference: Romans 14: 1-12