Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Pentecost 12
August 16, 2015
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5, NRSV)
I had the privilege this past week of visiting with woman who has had a long time relationship with St. Peter’s through her family. She is under Hospice care at the Mount Joy Center, and is most likely in the final days or weeks of her life. She is a grounded woman who has always taken in stride the joys and sorrows presented to her. Of late, her challenge has been a failing heart. And that heart weakness has divided her days into short moments of alertness, followed by short moments of napping. So you learn to be concise with comments and conversation, if you wish to conclude a string of thoughts with her. When I was in on Thursday, sitting at her bedside and holding her hand, she would drift off for a period of time. Then, when she would awaken, her eyes would get bright and she would smile and greet me as if I had just gotten there. She knew that she was drifting in and out of alertness, but each time she woke up it felt like we were greeting for the first time again. It had spontaneity and a newness to it, that struck me as refreshing. I found myself smiling a lot …
… and I found myself thinking: what an intriguing perspective on life this offered … awakening to a new world any number of times a day. I understand the joy of closing my eyes at night, and awakening the next morning to a world that often looks a little better than it did just 8 hours earlier. But imagine closing your eyes on the struggles of a moment, or a morning, or a lunch hour, and waking to a new, fresh world over and over again throughout the day. I think of the clarity of the moment that might allow … the pristine nature of a small slice in time … the joy related to the feeling of starting over. It has a baptismal spirit to it … a touch of rebirth … a reminder that life as a Christian is always characterized by “life and life again.” In its own way, it creates a world of regular renewal. It is as close to the heart of the Christian faith as you can get.
So, as you engage the week that is before you, think about the privilege of renewal and regeneration in your life. Consider the ways that God creates fresh looks in a familiar landscape. Ponder the blessing of newness. Reflect on the joy of new birth. Think about those moments when you might be most in need of a bit of renewal. Consider the factors that stand in the way of that renewal touching your life. Ask God to break through the blindness of your sin, and open new vistas of faith and life for you. Children do this all the time. You are a child of God. So, why should this experience not be part of your life, too?
O God, I long for you more than gold or silver. Nothing else could ever satisfy my soul. Reorient my affections toward you and what you choose to provide. May my nearness to God be my chief good. Show me the beauty of your holiness so that in worshipping your loveliness, I exalt you. Empower me to enjoy you so that the universe marvels in amazement at how fulfilling you are. Silence all the clamoring of false lovers of the soul who would seek my attention. I want to worship you with everything I am, with undivided adoration. Give me a heart for you. A constant longing after you. Incite within me a deep passion for you.” Amen.
~~ A Prayer of Relational Renewal from RPM Ministry site