Day one week fifty year 2017. Today is Sunday December 3. Please take time to read the Scripture readings and then pray and meditate on the thoughts that arise for you.

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 64:1-9 • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 • Mark 13:24-37
https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=48

PRAYER:

Oh Lord as I prepare to read, to listen I sense something within me. There is a struggle. Sometimes it is only indigestion, I did add an onion to the morning omelette. (lol) maybe I needed that laugh. Maybe my seriousness belies your intentions. Maybe my desire to be right leads me down my path instead of the path you would choose. Maybe I get caught up in living so right that I miss the point of living. Guide me as I now read through the Scripture.

Oh Lord, I must stop here. The Apostle said it, He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what it is all about? It is more than being right it is about the revelation of what we have been. It is about our intentions, ultimately about the direction we keep turning to. Inside of me there is a giggle wanting to come out. I messed up, I didn’t want to, I didn’t even choose to, but I did. You choose to cleanse me, you choose to keep redirecting me. Ultimately there will be an end. I will be there won’t I. I will be found blameless won’t I. My giggle has turned to tears, both of joy and sadness. If I could only check my ways at the door, enter the temple of your grace and truth, depart walking in grace and truth it would be better for everyone. The old hymn says it, “Lead Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah.

Lord the words of Isaiah make greater sense now. As I go back and read them again. What if you revealed yourself in a way humanity would turn only out of fear. What if humanity turns as a response to truth, to grace?

I think of the context of this group. An illness all pervasive. How many times do we experience the collective responses of those who deny this reality. The reality that evil can be so deceptive. Even so is it our own unbelief that adds to the travesty of “living?” Enable us Oh Lord to pick up the pieces and put our lives back together. Enable us to claim the truth that you would seek to find us blameless, to be found together whole and on point when all starts fresh and new.

This time of prayer, is a special time to look into my soul oh Lord. It is a time to peal actions and thoughts back and to reach into the heart of the matter. It is a time to be free of judgement and condemnation. Thank you. Amen

MUSIC:

Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Odk49ZvD4

In Christ Alone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWuckLEu_hg

MEDITATION:
A Renewed Direction

As I sit here contemplating the prayer thoughts, the Scripture reading my mind fills with thoughts, many thoughts illustrating the truth of the words found in the prayer.

Years ago a lady came to me wanting to write a book about our work with young people wanting to get off the street. She interviewed many. Each had the opportunity to tell their story. They were amazingly honest, revealing a lot of their past. Before the book was published we had to put the writing on hold as young person after another came to me saying, don’t let her publish that. “I told her the truth!” I tried to convince each one that their identity would be masked. None of the youth could be convinced. The publishing of the book was delayed. A few years went by, the stories were edited and rewritten. Some were taken out completely. She entitled her book “New Directions.” I smile now as I remember a recent conversation with her. She wrote the book, she paid all the costs, gave us 10,000 copies and wished us well. I asked her if she regretted doing the book. She laughed, NO she said. I learned so much. She had spent a part of her career life as a social worker, her mother had worked with street people. She was proud to tell a story, many stories of the value of each person. Would you do it again I asked. Probably differently she said. But “YES.”

Another friend is in the process of publishing the third edition of a book about “Memes”. It is about how people make decisions, good or bad because they are a part of “subcultures.” Why do people join groups? Why do they go along with the decisions of the majority. One cannot help but think of the Holocaust. Was it just the killing of Jews? Or perhaps we think of North America, South America, individual countries. Perhaps we think of economic decisions that protect one part of society leaving other parts destitute. We read of stories of suicide pacts, groups drinking tainted kool aid, whole populations defeated by the consumption of alcohol or as in my world the how the acceptable use of children in the sex trade has become a normal way of existence. In some places young people walking into the rushing waters of a river never to be brought back alive, or the sacrifice of young people into a sports culture or the arts cultures. Many of these words are offensive but they exist often as sanctioned ways of living. I believe my friend is right not to judge or condemn. I also believe he is right to recognize the inability of the human condition to turn without an intervention.

I believe the words of the apostle hits the nail on the head when he sees God’s remedy as we turn to the ways of Jesus.

A third book comes to mind, it is an unpublished work. It too is by a friend. It is called The Sin Grid. While I don’t remember him using the word “victim” he talks about the things, actions/beliefs done to us, done to people to destroy “living in grace.” His story comes from many years of being a pastor in churches. People had come to him for counsel because of things done to them or for things they did to themselves or others. Lives had been damaged, in some cases destroyed. The interesting twist was his awareness how community mores create an environment allowing for or accepting for behaviors otherwise unacceptable.

Again I believe the words of the apostle hits the nail on the head. The scripture tells it’s own story. It also offers a remedy and new directions.

CONCLUDING THOUGHT:

Be Thou My Vision https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJUIYTtLv4