|Private Source: Lutherans Connect|
LC† Living Our Faith - DAY 8
Pray. Read. Worship. Love.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust.
For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a
teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed,
for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that
he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.
(2 Timothy 1:11-12)
The whole chapter of 2 Timothy 1 that we are studying, can be read here.
(This is hymn 650 in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book)
Today look at your life.
Consider the Eucharist as a sign of hope. How can this hope be
carried by you into the world around you? How will this hope affect
your family life? How will this hope affect your work? How does this
hope touch your community and the environment? The offering of
your life to others is not in vain. It will be gathered and blessed
by God as part of the fulfillment of the promise of God to
restore all things.
- from Praying the Catechism, by Donald W. Johnson*
A Reflection & Prayer
When I read the passages from 2 Timothy and Praying the
Catechism, I think about my grandfather, Jacob Stolee. He was a
man who lived out his baptismal calling, whether serving as a
pastor, or in later life, folding the bulletins for his congregation
and clearing the lunch dishes at the nursing home where my
grandmother lived. He lived a life of gratitude, of hospitality,
and of generosity. By the end of his life, his tithe had grown to forty
percent of his income. But he would never have said that any of
these things were sacrifices. And even if they were sacrifices,
they were made easily and with great love. He understood that
"the offering of your life to others is not in vain." His example
has also helped me to continue to live a life of hope, a life
of gratitude, hospitality and generosity.
God, you bless us with many gifts and call us to share what
we have received with those in need. Help us to share your love
with our words, our time, our talents and our wealth. Embolden us
to grow in generosity so that we are willing to sacrifice what we
have for the sake of others.
- Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Verse for the Day
Let your steadfast love, O God, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
|Private Source: Lutherans Connect|
"Consider the Eucharist as a sign of hope,” says Pastor Johnson. All of the pastors today are showing us that when we gather in community and share the bread and wine, we are carrying the hope of our faith, and then we become the bearers of that hope to the world. Bishop Johnson tells us how her grandfather’s gifts to community and church were never considered by him as sacrifices. The hope of the Eucharist affected Pastor Stolee in his desire to continuously live as a disciple. It can be challenging to achieve that capacity to give, without thinking of ourselves as losing something. It becomes easier when we give from great love. Think of a time when you have made a gift so completely from your heart that you did not think twice. Was it a sacrifice? would others see it so? When we live in the love that God and Jesus have for us, the gifts we make flow out of us more easily than when we are doing so from a place of measurement of what we have and are willing to part with. It takes practice. It takes a ritual of gestures made every day. It requires us to be intentional about it. “Today, look at your life,” says Pastor Johnson. Can you do that today? In your prayer, reflect on how you give and how you receive from others. Who has given to you in a way that allows you to feel God's love? And who at the same time benefits from your own unconditional and unhesitating love? What are the small and larger gestures of your heart that can help someone feel God's love today?
The next devotional day is Tuesday, January 22nd.
LC† Living our Faith is a collaborative project of Lutherans Connect and The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Office.
*Excerpts from Praying the Catechism (1995, 1998) by Donald W. Johnson, reproduced by permission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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