Today's lectionary reading: Psalm 107:1-16; Exodus 15:22-27; Hebrews 3:1-6
Selected passages for reflection: Psalm 107:1-16, Hebrews 3:1-6 (NLT)
Psalm 107:1-16 NLT
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands from east and west, from north and south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 because they rebelled against God’s command and despised the plans of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.
Hebrews 3:1-6 NLT
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. 2 For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.
3 But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4 For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.
5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.
We each have a story. A narrative that’s being written each moment. And every one of our stories collides with another’s story every single day. And when we hear someone else’s story, our own stories often intersect - weaving together feelings and meaning. The Psalmist tells the stories of many people, displaced people searching for a city, the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoners, those in the dark, those who rebelled against God. And as they cried out, God responded to their stories, redeeming each of their lives, each of their stories to himself. Satisfying their hunger, their need for a safe place, breaking their chains and prisons.
Each one of these individuals and each person in Christ is a living story in the house of God as it says in Hebrews. Each story from refugee to prisoner touches another’s story - weaving in, forming our hearts into the Love that is God. God longs to hear you put words to your story of redemption and praise, of transformation and love, and how you’re living and being in the House of Christ.
Even in the most desolate places we write our stories and we remember. We remember the goodness of God in the past, seek the goodness of God in the present and hope for the future. So keep courage, remain confident and rest in hope. Your story is being woven with countless other stories, past and present, in proclaiming redemptive Love.
Here is a visio divina for you today:
Visio divina is a form of divine seeing in which we prayerfully invite God to speak to our hearts as we look at an image. As you gaze at an image, you will be offered some questions for silent reflection, some of which may speak to you, while others you may choose to ignore.
As you gaze at the image, notice your breath and your body.
Simply be present to the image and allow it to speak to your heart, without any particular agenda. It might speak to you in words or respond with another image.
How do you feel looking at the image?
Is there a part of the image, a color, a shape, an idea that seems to capture your attention?
If you focus in on that which has captured your attention, is there a word or an invitation to you in it?
Respond to God with the thoughts, emotions and questions that arise within you.
In silence, rest with God.
Take some time to remember your story. Are there places you have seen in the past or in your current life that you notice God moving? Write out your remembering in detail, set this moment as an altar of remembrance to come back to at other times in your life
Was there an invitation, a word, or image in the visio divina for you? Take a few minutes to write it down and respond with a prayer in whatever form that comes for you (poetry, drawing, painting, etc...)
Creator, Writer, Builder - we acknowledge and praise you for the stories of our lives. We are grateful for the ability to notice how you are writing within us. We ask that you make us aware of others around us and open our hearts to weave their stories in with our own. We are grateful for the gift of memory, may we be present to setting altars of remembrance along the way as acknowledge and praise the movement of Your Spirit. Amen.
About the Author
Sheli Sloterbeek is a trained spiritual director, writer, speaker and retreat leader. She is passionate about living wholly – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, John, daughter and two dogs who keep life entertaining. You can find her online living a slow life @theslojourney.