ON TUESDAY MORNING, I WAS ASSAULTED BY THREE DIFFERENT READINGS. The first, while eating breakfast, was by Andrée Seu Peterson in World Magazine.
The old age of my father-in-law doesn’t fit my schedule. I phoned my husband between the nurse and PT visits. My Husband: “You will have your reward in heaven.” Me: “No I won’t, because I’m grumbling.” My husband: “So don’t grumble. This is the most real thing you can do for Christ. ‘Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.’ ” My father-in-law is not the least of these. He’s one of the most of these, but point well taken.
Sandbag #2—Henri Nouwen:
O Lord, listen to my desire to be with you, to dwell in your house. This is not possible without you. Endless thought and concerns divide me and tear me away from you. Even good, spiritual thoughts can be little more than distractions. Theological ideas, thoughts about prayer—all can be as much an expression of greed as the unruly desire for food, possessions, or power. Only you can teach me to dwell in your presence. No book, no idea, no concept or theory will ever bring me close unless you let these instruments become the way to you. Lord, let me wait patiently and attentively for the hour when you will break through all the walls I have erected. Teach me, O Lord, to pray.
#3—Eugene Peterson on Love your neighbor as yourself:
We are immersed in marvelous realities. Creation! Salvation! Resurrection! But when we come up dripping from the waters of baptism and look around, we’re surprised to see that the community of the baptized is made up of people just like us: unfinished, immature, stumbling, singing out of tune. The Apostle John’s letter (1 John 4:19-21) is unrelenting in his insistence on love, even though he knows how often we will fail in it. Every sentence of his elaborate exposition of loving your neighbor comes out the same: God loves you. Christ shows you how love works. Now YOU love. Love, love, love, love. Just do it.
This is where I am: busy, worn down, singing out of tune, but earnestly desiring God. Help me, Lord, to
1. Do the Real Thing
3. Love, love, love, love.
Just DO it.
In what way is God tugging on your sleeve? I love hearing your stories, either in a comment below or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for this, what a good word. Sometimes I get so caught in doing for God, I forget the communing with God.
Thanks so much, Ruthie. It hit me that way, too! : )
The first story spoke loudly to me, Ellie, since I sometimes care for my 90-year-old mom, who is also one of the most of these! At times when I’ve visited nursing homes or spent time with a “least of these” that others have rejected, the Lord whispers, “This is the most important thing you’ve done all week.” I need to apply this to spending time with my mom.
Andree Peterson is one of my favorite columnists. She clobbers me often in her astute and often humorous ways. Thanks much for reading AND commenting!
I find devotion time communion with God, but often it doesn’t carry through in the day. Do the real thing. Pray and Love. All things I need to increase in my life. Not sure what it means to do the real thing. Have to think on that.
Thanks, Anne. Yes, the Real Thing tends to be elusive. We all struggle with that!
Great blog, Ellie. Thank you so much for sharing wise words. Loved seeing you up at Rumney last month. Lucinda