One answer is listening for God's voice. Asking God how we can be used to further God's kingdom rather than bringing our own preferences into a congregation. For some Ministers, listening for God's voice is a responsibility they do not like to do. It involves change and work and responsibility. How sad to stunt the growth of the Good News.
In doing some research yesterday, I came across an 1866 letter from Rev James Nisbet to a Sunday School in Toronto. In the letter, Rev Nisbet tells of their travels from Kildonan/Red River Settlement (now Winnipeg Manitoba area) to Prince Albert (now Prince Albert Saskatchewan). They had eleven ox and carts. Yet when they reached a river or lake, they could not drive the ox and carts through the water. Someone came up with the bright idea of fastening two cart wheels together, putting the carts on top and floating - paddling across each of the rivers and lakes they encountered. What a great creative idea for traversing water! So today, when you reach a stumbling block think of the Rev James Nisbet and how God provided for them a way to cross deep waters. Ask God to provide you with ways to surmount your stumbling block!
Keep in your prayers today all Ministers and ask of God that all Ministers may be open to the sharing of the Good News through change and work and responsibility in their lives.
Prayer: Glorious and Majestic God, help us this day to look inwardly at our lives. Help us to confess those things we would rather not have to deal with. Help us to provide a place of prayer and sheltering to those who are in need. This we ask in Your Son’s name. Amen.
Read St. Matthew 23: 25-28
The laws of cleanliness. Do you remember when your Mother or some relative used to say to you that cleanliness was next to Godliness? Part of the laws of Judaism is the rite of keeping clean with ceremonial hand washing. Here Jesus is telling the Scribes and Pharisees that while they are washing, they are not keeping themselves pure. They wash the outside of the cup and plate but the inside is dirty beyond belief. Jesus is providing the Scribes and Pharisees with an image of what their lives have become. They are keeping their outward appearance Godly, but inwardly.. in their minds and hearts… they are unclean. Keeping the laws just for the sake of keeping the laws does not make a person at one with God.
How can we keep our “insides” clean? Through daily prayers of confession. Although we have been forgiven of all our sins, if we do not come before God and ask for forgiveness negativity builds up in our souls. This is not good.
So today, as you wash your hands, say a prayer of forgiveness to God at the same time!
Great God, today as I wash my hands, I also know that You are washing my sins away. For this I rejoice and am glad. You are my shield and defender. For this I abide in Your love. Amen.Many blessings!