Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:
In the midst of the congregation I will praise you. - Psalm 22:22
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 15:5-6
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 124; 1 Kings 7:34-8:16; John 14:1-14
Where do we turn in times of trouble? Today's scriptures remind me that the best answer is: Christ. Not an idea, or a principle, or an article of faith. Not God's providence or direction or strength. Not any kind of power or strength we might be given to get us through. But a person, the living Christ.
I was talking with a friend recently about some discouraging, humbling experiences. (No, not related to the election!) Things looked bleak, no answer was in sight. Faith was tested. Weaknesses in coping skills were exposed. But on the other side, it was clear that God was present at every stage of the journey. The lesson learned was humility, and a greater appreciation for how the presence of Christ transforms everything.
As I look ahead to the projects and priorities that lie ahead for me, it would be easy in good times to let my faith drift, thinking my way forward is based on one human factor or another. And it would be easy in tougher times to complain and long for some different circumstance. Today's scriptures help me remember that it's not any thing that makes the most difference, it's a person, the living Christ.
In Psalm 22, it's only God who is praised directly. In Romans 15, it's only "in accordance with Christ Jesus" that we find harmony and unity that gives rise to one glorifying voice. In John 14, it's Jesus' remarkable statement, not that he will help his followers know the way, but that he is the way. And the truth. And the life.
This may seem simple and obvious. But it's a message of powerful grace that comes at a good time for me. Lord, help me to turn to you, and follow you, and with my words and deeds glorify you.