Reflections to start the week
Monday, August 11, 2014
Singing a song of the saints of God.
For a number of years, during this particular week in August, my family and I would travel on a mission trip in Honduras, a powerful partnership with people in that now very troubled part of the world. It goes without saying that we received more than we gave. We’d go for a week, and each morning on our mission trip we would gather for Morning Prayer. We would use readings for the saints of the day. It’s one of the few weeks in the year when there is a saint for each day, and it’s quite a collection. By holy coincidence, the saints of this week each have something to teach us about the journey of faith, and especially about service.
Today, we observe the feast of Clare, Abbess of Assisi, who joined St. Francis in his ministry in the 12th century. She reminds us that an integral part of our faith is attending to the needs of the poor, as an instrument of God’s peace. On this day, what might you do to serve those in need, nearby or far away?
Tomorrow, we observe the feast of Florence Nightingale. Did you know she was a saint? A social reformer, a person of deep faith, and founder of modern nursing in the 19th century, she reminds us that an integral part of our faith is being a healer, and that God uses people in a variety of ways for healing ministry. On Tuesday, what might you do to be an instrument of God’s healing power?
On Wednesday, we observe the feast of Jeremy Taylor, a church leader from the 17th century, noted for his skill as spiritual writer, so much so that he was called the “Shakespeare of the Divines”. He wrote a manual for Christian practice called The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, a guide that is still in use. He reminds us that an integral part of our faith is that thing called practice. What will you do on this day to exercise your faith?
On Thursday, we observe a saint from our own day, Jonathan Myrick Daniels. As a seminarian in the early 1960’s, he participated in the civil rights movement in the south, and was shot and killed in Alabama, when he stepped between a young black woman and a man aiming a gun at her. He reminds us that Christ calls us to work sacrificially for justice and peace. This Thursday, what will you do to work for justice and peace?
And on Friday, we observe the feast of St. Mary the virgin, the mother of our Lord, who challenges us to consider what in means to magnify the Lord. She models discipleship in the way she responds to the angel’s announcement by saying “Here am I.” What will you do to say yes to God’s intentions for you?
This Monday morning, I’m mindful that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who guide us, who help us see what it means to have faith. We give thanks for the life, ministry and witness of Clare, Florience, Jeremy, Jonathan and Mary. Take some time and think about how they call you to grow in your own life of faith this week. Give thanks for their witness and for all the saints in your life. Remember that you can be one too. By grace, you already are.
– Jay Sidebotham
(You can find tons of information about each of these saints online, but you know that. If you want to know which scripture readings have been selected for these saints, I suggest www.lectionarypage.net)
|A new stanza for an old hymn:
I sing a song of the saints of God,
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
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