Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

In the silence of our hearts
let us give thanks for the gift of this day
and pray for the life of the world.

A Reading from Hebrews 4:1-11
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “As in my anger I swore, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day—“today” —saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.

Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

The last verse says that a "sabbath rest" is open for the people of God. This might mean merely that there is a rest as complete as that of the sabbath - or it is just possible that the author was thinking of a schema of ages in which the previous time stood for six days, and then the time to come would be the seventh.

Naturally, an exhortation follows: Get busy so you can enter into this great rest. Do not think you can hide anything from God: God’s word is sharp; it penetrates everywhere. Everything lies open and bare to God, to whom we must give an account.

Do you see the great lesson here? The Christian life is a life of day by day, hour by hour trust in the promises of God to help us and guide us and take care of us and forgive us and bring us into a future of holiness and joy that will satisfy our hearts infinitely more than if we forsake him and put our trust in ourselves or in the promises of this world. And that day by day, hour by hour trust in God's promises is not automatic. It is the result of daily diligence and it's the result of proper fear.

Lover of the poor
defender of the needy,
sanctuary of the rejected:
for those who suffer today
and for whole communities
who have no hope for tomorrow,
we offer the longings of our hearts.
We seek for them, O God --
food for the table,
drink for the soul,
shelter for the night,
and open arms to welcome all.

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