Today’s readings (click to open in a new tab/window):
Psalms 139; 150, Malachi 4:1-6, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Luke 9:18-27
Is the concept of an all-knowing God intimidating or comforting? The author of Psalm 139 finds great comfort in the idea that God has been and always will be with him, from conception through death. He portrays God’s constant presence not as one of judgment, but one of personal investment. As God’s carefully wrought works of art, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” we are each of us His precious creation.
Artists frequently compare their own creations to children; how could we be less to God? Like all good parents, He does not coerce our love through threats, nor does He abandon us when we make mistakes. God has our best interests at heart; Jesus assures us no father, when his child asks for a fish, would hand him a snake. Good parents can be strict, but always with an eye toward guiding and challenging children to be their best selves.
Psalm 139 provides beautiful images of the relationship God intends to have with us: guide, artist, parent, creator. Jesus used similar metaphors to describe our relationship to God, and they can help us explore His unknowable yet always loving nature. Whether we are living in the light or the darkness, God desires an intimate connection with each of His children.
Focusing on God’s presence in our lives, even when we don’t necessarily “feel” it, inspires us to rise to the opportunity of being our best selves. Without reducing God’s role in our lives merely to a supportive buddy or life coach, we can contemplate God’s presence as we devise plans, make decisions, and take actions. Pausing to reflect on how God might view an action before we commit to it can help us transcend fleeting impulses which may not serve us well. If such reflection nags our conscience or sense of guilt, they may be signposts pointing us to a better – if sometimes more difficult – path. God does not promote shame but does encourage us to have self-control. God’s presence is not a fist knocking us down, but a hand lifting us up. Let’s grab it and be the wonderful creations God intended.
Comfort: God is with us always, waiting to lift us ever higher.
Challenge: Before going to bed each night, reflect on which of the day’s actions glorified God, and which you might have done differently if you’d been keeping God in mind. Thank God for loving you enough to help you do better tomorrow.
Prayer: Thank you God for always calling me toward the right direction.
Discussion: Can you imagine yourself as a work of art? If not, why not? If so, what kind of art would you be?
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