Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Lent 2
March 1, 2015
No one spoke ill of her, for she feared God with great devotion. (Judith 8:8, NRSV)
Are you obsessed with watching for the next snowfall that is arriving? Do you know how many inches are predicted? How many weather apps do you have on your smart phone? How many times a week (or day …) do you tune in the Weather Channel? Do you make the obligatory trip to the grocery store the day before the prediction of two inches of snow … just in case it turns into a blizzard? If you answered any of these questions with a guilty “yes”, then to some degree you have been bitten by the weather forecast obsession that appears to be a pandemic in our nation.
I do recognize that obsessions, by definition, are things that exert some level of control over our lives. There is something visceral and at times irrationally powerful about them. If they were that easily banished, I guess they wouldn’t be obsessions, right? I have only one app on my iPhone that I paid for. It is a Settlers of Catan app … a strategy game. It is my guilty pleasure. At times it approaches obsession status in my life. I play it too much, truth be told. Our family plays the game in board game fashion, but not nearly as often enough to feed my hunger for it. So I play it on my phone when I have a hankering for it.
So … imagine, if we could take our various obsessions, and substitute something in their place that was more … useful? … life-giving? … productive? … faithful? … oh, maybe something like … prayer, Scripture reading, an act of service? I don’t intend to be naïve or polly-anna-ish. But when I have the courage, I think about the time I can waste in the course of a day. Scary. What would my life look like if I gave even half of that wasted time to something more productive? Obviously, we all need some down time. But where does that time end and wastefulness begin? For me, it begins in the settlements of Catan.
So why not pray this week for strength … or courage … or commitment … or resistance … or perseverance … pray for whatever it takes to allow you to turn, oh, say just one obsession into a God obsession. Turn off the cell phone for a day or two each week in Lent. Do something different with that time. Do something that feels like it adds to the pie, instead of taking away from it. Something that brings a more lasting satisfaction. Something that might cultivate your relationship with God, instead of your weather app, or my Catan game, or whatever it is that holds you hostage. Something that has substance. Something that allows you to add satisfaction to your life. And let’s see if I can follow my own devotional advice.
With humbleness, may I face everyone with compassion. With devotion to enlightened life may I abide in true compassion. So that others may know their true heart, may I have the wisdom and true knowledge to bring out the best in everyone. With compassion with all and everyone in it, may I fight in every way for a better world, for the generations to come. Empowered, may I have true compassion in sharing the wisdom of life and death with others, by being present in meditation, of any shape or form of everyday life. May this branch of love be of benefit.