Sunday, February 26, 2006

another happy sunday

So technically the sabbath isn't on Sunday, but work with me here, OK? Isaiah writes
...if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable,and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord... (from Isaiah 58.13-14)
but what exactly does that mean to someone living under the new covenant? Our teaching pastor says that once a week you ought to have a "joy day". Maybe I did that yesterday, but I decided to have some fun today. I made pancakes this morning. Another activity was the hour spent on my blog entry earlier today. Now after writing that, I did something joyless -- finding documents for the tax man. But I found what I needed, and that desire accomplished was sweet to my soul, so maybe that's an OK "joy day" activity.

The next fun thing was... going to the apartment of some dear friends from church. We looked at the study guide from our church -- today's sermon being about the Holy Spirit -- and had a wonderful time together. We talked about the question of how we follow the Holy Spirit more closely. Pastor Frank said this morning that we need to be good listeners. I told 'em that this is very hard for me, because the things I do to listen well to someone in front of me are -- lean forward, ask questions, empathize, etc. -- which I don't do when trying to listen to God, because nothing is visible, and usually nothing is audible. And how can we tell when God is talking anyway? It may be true that it's like a mother talking to her children, but I feel like I'm usually not sure. I ask for wisdom (which James tells us God will give, when or especially when in the midst of a trial), I try to make myself neutral if there's a decision to be made, I seek counsel -- but at the end I think we have to say, "Well, I asked for wisdom and sought it and as far as I can tell, God guided and this is OK."

I mentioned Abraham and Hagar and how maybe he was culpable, but that I have a real hard time blaming him. He had a promise from God, a common cultural means by which to participate in that promise, and... three thousand plus years later, preachers are saying he should have consulted God. I'm not so sure!

At some point in there I said that when we (the lovely Carol and I) pray together, I often say, "Lord, you are powerful and good, but I am weak and easily distracted." They were surprised -- they didn't think I was easily distracted.

Well, it might be nice to hear people think I'm such a saint, but it brings me more joy to share with them, no, we're alike in our weaknesses. I might know more (or fewer) Bible verses than you do, and maybe I've been at this longer (or shorter) than you have, but we've all got weaknesses and struggles. We all fail every day at something or another. Which reminds me of a prayer I read once:
Lord, I've done pretty good today.
I didn't get mad or impatient with anyone
I didn't covet or lust after anything
I've done pretty well.
But now I'm about to get out of bed, Lord, so please help me through the rest of the day.
I thought at first it was like the prayer of the proud Pharisee (Luke 18.10)... 'til I got to the last line!

Carol and Sheri were at an Irish dance performance, and I thought they'd be home before me... but no... so I called. Sheri was lobbying for some corn-bread to go with the chili. So I made some. That was fun too.

Well, I'm going to quit here. I had a wonderful day. I hope you did too.

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