Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Thoughts from the Transforming Center

Let Me Live Grace-fully
by Ted Loder

Thank you, Lord,
for this season
of sun and slow motion,
of games and porch sitting,
of picnics and light green fireflies
on heavy purple evenings;
and praise for slight breezes.
It's good, God,
as the first long days of your creation.
Let this season be for me
a time of gathering together the pieces
into which by busyness has broken me.
O God, enable me now
to grow wise through reflection,
peaceful through the song of the cricket,
recreated through the laughter of play.
Most of all, Lord,
let me live easily and grace-fully for a spell,
so that I may see other souls deeply,
share in a silence unhurried,
listen to the sound of sunlight and shadows,
explore barefoot the land of forgotten dreams and shy hopes,
and find the right words to tell another who I am.
Copyright © 1981 Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1981), p 131.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Discipline, Duty, and Drudgery

"So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books." 2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG

In today's reading from My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes: "Drudgery is the test of genuine character." I often struggle with doing the "daily" things in life. It's not that I don't do them. It's more a matter of doing them with the wrong attitude. I am often trying to please myself instead of trying to please God; trying to make myself look good or feel good, instead of serving others out of a grateful heart. Pleasing myself never produces the results I desire. I just end up feeling frustrated.

Peter pictures faith as the foundation needed for building character. To faith we must add spiritual understanding, patience, etc. It's like a puzzle, each piece fitting together and making the picture clearer. Take any of the pieces away, and the picture is incomplete or ruined. Chambers sums it up well: "If I will do my duty, not for duty's sake, but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ."

O Lord, help me to build on my faith with your building blocks. May my service to you and to others not be built out of a sense of duty, but out of gratefulness for what You have done for me.