Thursday, September 3, 2009

Devotion 2

My second morning devotion at Bethany Village Retirement Home.

A reading from Lamentations, chapter 3, verses 22-23(a).

22The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,

His mercies never come to an end;

23they are new every morning

This past summer I traveled to Cape Cod and the surrounding areas for the first time with my family. There we visited many historical sites, things and places that amaze and cause me wonder. But nothing shines so clearly in my mind as one morning—one of the last days of the vacation—when I went out to watch the sunrise over the ocean. Here I was—the vast ocean before me, alone on the beach except for the sound of waves making towards the sandy shore, the smell of salt in the air. The beach was empty. There were no footprints, not a single one was left over from the many people who had been here the day before. The sky was empty, just a slow grey in the horizon that slowly began to melt to a blue before, in an instant! The sun appeared over the horizon. In that moment the sea sparkled and shone with such brilliance. The sky burst into colors I had never knew even existed, as if it were painted by the hand of God.

In that moment, I felt like I was the very first person to set foot on the beach, that I was some unknown traveler discovering a new ground—this is what the pilgrims must have felt when they first touched foot onto these same sand beaches.

Soon, the afternoon would come and the beach would become crowded with summer tourists and sunbathers and children building sand castles. But then! The night will come, people will go home. The high tide will wash away any sign that people had ever been there before, leaving an undiscovered land for sojourners the next morning.

In that sunrise was revealed to me the never ending mercies and grace of God. I was on a beach that was completely empty, spotless—not a single footprint in the sand. Yet just twelve or so hours before it had been bustling and busy. The grace of God I think is like that. Every morning, every sunrise brings new grace and mercy. A chance to get up, a new person in Christ Jesus, free of the worries of yesterday.

Each day brings new faces, each day new challenges, each day a chance to do good, however small that chance is. Every day is an opportunity. A slate wiped clean, a beach washed clean from the tide, every day brings hope, and the steadfast love of our God. So, I ask of you, what will you do today? Where will God speak to you? Where will your chance to do good come? And even if today is a bad day, remember that this sun will set, and a new one will rise. For it was grace that brought us safe this far, and grace that will lead us home.

Let us pray together the words our savior taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.

O God, you have called us your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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