Friday, October 21, 2016

Works in Progress

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

The Lord says, "I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you." - Leviticus 26:9

You are God’s field, God’s building. - 1 Corinthians 3:9

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 119:57-64; 2 Samuel 13:34-14:33; John 8:42-59

There are different images in today's scriptures for the way God works in our lives for growth and usefulness: fruit, field, building. All the time, God is at work in each of our lives. The psalmist says, "the earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love." These images each highlighting a unique aspect of the way God's love is poured into our lives, to draw us forward from where we are toward a greater maturity and participation in God's work. We are all "works in progress!"

Scripture is also full of stories of people who wrestle with the various forces in the world. Surrounded by God's steadfast love, we still are tempted to give greater precedence to our own self-centered needs, or the attractions and attachments of little worldly pleasures. The story of David's sons in 2 Samuel contains several rounds of questionable decisions and uncertain outcomes. Where will it all lead? Will anything good come out of it? And in John 8, Jesus talks about some people who are children of God and others who are children of the devil. Is this based on the choices we make? Or are we predestined to choose one way or the other?

Amid the confusion, we also have God's words of assurance that the love will keep coming, and the growth will keep happening. And Jesus, many times in John's gospel, encourages people to abide (a word that can also be translated remain, or continue) in him and in his word. We are works in progress, and in Christ, the work will go on.

Thank you, God, for your persistence and care. Help us to see and cooperate with the transformative work you're doing in our lives. Bring us peace and joy that rests in you, and that overflows for good into the lives of others.

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