Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Far and Near, Great and Small

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. - Nehemiah 9:6

From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. - Romans 11:36

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 23; 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:19; Acts 21:31-22:2

It's interesting to compare the cosmic, all-encompassing view of God in today's verses with some of the longer passages. Scripture affirms that all of creation is the work of God, and that God is so much greater than everything we can experience, we can't begin to imagine the infinite nature of God. Yet scripture also affirms that God is intimately involved in every life, bringing life and health and all provisions, and a loving connection with God, each other, and all of creation.

In Psalm 23, the God of the universe is "my shepherd," providing care and guidance that leads us through trouble and watches over us forever. We can never be truly lost or alone to God.

In 2 Chronicles, King Jehoshaphat, who has already had problems relying on human power instead of God, turns immediately to God when his nation is attacked. His prayer of faith: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." God's word comes back: "Do not fear or be dismayed; for the battle is not yours but God's." Jehoshaphat's army never has to fight at all against this enemy, but is just sent out to salvage the fallen enemy's possessions.

In Acts 21, Paul is about to be torn apart by a mob, and then arrested. But his arrest turns into a chance to bear witness to God to his people.

Where is God for you today? Far away? Closer than your own understanding? Or both? Is God at work on matters of universal importance? Caring for you and each person individually? Or both?

May we keep our eyes, minds, and hearts set on God. May we trust that the God of the universe, "from whom and through whom and to whom are all things," includes each life among those things, caring deeply for us. May we seek God's help, God's word, and God's ways.

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