Monthly Archives: January 2017

Epiphany and the Divine Plan

Today is the feast of the Epiphany – the remembrance of the Magi or Wise Men visiting Jesus and his parents. Generally twelve days after Christmas (and hence the 12 days of Christmas we hear in song and story).'ADORATION OF THE MAGI'

Epiphany is a powerful reminder that God is working even when we cannot see it. The parents of Jesus had no idea these wise searchers after truth would come to their home. They appeared one day after a long search for the one whose birth they had seen in the stars. I am sure their arrival was not only unexpected but also overwhelming.

I imagine them going about their business when suddenly these strangers arrive at the door. Or neighbors come to say there are these strangers in town asking about babies born on such a date. An ordinary day in every respect until this revelation or epiphany occurs.

I don’t often post here and not usually two days in a row. But I was struck by yesterday’s verse from Jeremiah with the emphasis on God knowing his plans even when we do not and perhaps cannot. God was nudging these wise ones to Jesus’ home all the while life was settling into the post-birth patterns of family and parenting. Stars in the heavens and advice along the way – and then dreams afterward – propelled them toward the goal of seeing this singular and peculiar child.

God is giving birth to purpose and future for each of us daily. Slowly God’s purposes reveal themselves to us. Sometimes in an epiphany. Others when we look back and see where the Divine One has led us without our knowing.

May today be a day of being open to such revelations of the divine and the divine purpose in your life and mine. May we God’s signs lead us to Christ again today and to a life of submission to his will and pleasure.

 

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

Matthew 2:1-2 The Message

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Plans I Have For You

One of the oft-quoted verses when facing the future are these words from the prophet Jeremiah:

  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

This morning my daily devotional used this verse as its focus.

God’s plans are not the only ones, however. While God intends our good and to give us a better future, the forces around us may move us in a different direction. Like a ship buffeted by winds and waves, our lives may be pushed off this ideal course. And the longer we drift, the farther off this path of life and blessing we are.

It isn’t that God doesn’t care. Nor that God is unable to do on our behalf. It is that God is not the only player in the drama of human life. The forces I mention above? They have their own agendas. We are surrounded by people who have their own ideas and goals – and their ideas for us may be very different than the ones that God intends.

And then there is the free human agent – the other “I” in my life. Me. I choose. I dream. I hope. I worry. I despair. Even God’s deepest dream hasn’t the power to overcome my free choice to drift or even depart from the divine will.

The question on my mind today? Are God’s plans my plans? Am I willing to let God answer my prayers – or am I waiting for God to do what I want and what I hope? Am I submitting as Jesus did to God’s plan at every turn? Is every choice in submission to the plans God has for me? Am I willing to accept the hope and embrace the future that God intends?

 

 

 

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New Year’s Day

Every year for New Year’s I post this poem from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He wrote it in prison when I suspect he knew he would not leave prison alive. In April of the year he wrote these words he was hanged by the Nazis at the Flossenberg Camp.

It gives me such hope to read his words… to recall that he faced what he may have realized were his final days.. and yet to rest his future and the futures of those he loved in the DIvine One’s hands. To have such faith is my prayer this year and every day.

New Year 1945

With every power for good to stay and guide me,
comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
and pass, with you, into the coming year.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldly we’ll face the future, be it what may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
and oh, most surely on each new year’s day

The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening:
the long days of our sorrow still endure.
Father, grant to the soul thou hast been chastening
that Thou hast promised—the healing and the cure.

Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
we will not falter, thankfully receiving
all that is given by thy loving hand.

But, should it be thy will once more to release us
to life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,
that we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us
and all our life be dedicate as thine.

To-day, let candles shed their radiant greeting:
lo, on our darkness are they not thy light,
leading us haply to our longed-for meeting?
Thou canst illumine e’en our darkest night.

When now the silence deepens for our harkening,
grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise
from all the unseen world around us darkening
their universal paean, in thy praise.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldy we’ll face the future, be it what way.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each new year’s day!

 

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