Last week at VCC we did a reflection – looking back at 2007 and asked these questions:
- Who were the significant people in your life?
What books or Bible study instructed your mind and heart?
- How were you a gift to a person or a community?
- What was your greatest joy this year? Your greatest sorrow?
- In what areas did you grow? Were these areas related to your joy or your pain?
- Did you root your life more firmly in Scripture and in prayer? Did God seem near or far off?
Is there anything you feel God is saying to you as you look back on the year?
This morning we will reflect on looking ahead at 2008 with these questions:
- Who are the people with whom you would like to deepen your relationships in the year to come? Do you have relationships that need to be healed? Are there places in your own heart that need healing?
- Is there an aspect of your character you would like to develop, or one of the fruit of the Spirit you would like God to grow in you? (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” Gal.5:22)
- Are there any other goals, in the area of mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional growth that you’d like to name before God, asking his help?
Most of the time we encourage living in the present, this real day to day, ordinary life and see all aspects as holy. Spiritual formation is happening whether I am watching Fox News, CNN or eat dinner with my family. All of life is forming me. There are a few times during the year that it is good to reflect on the past and ask what do I hope for in the future. As followers of Christ we live in three time zones, the past, the present and the future. The Kingdom has come, is here and our prayer, “Kingdom Come”
For all the implications that come with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto we pray to the LORD
Lord hear our prayer
From this morning’s prayers (The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle)
This Is My Prayer To You
But as for me, this is my prayer to you, at the time you have set, O LORD:
“In your great mercy, O God, answer me with your unfailing help.
Save me from the mire; do not let me sink, let me be rescued from those who
hate men and out of the deep waters.
Let not the torrent of waters wash over me, neither let the deep swallow me up,
do not let the Pit shut its mouth upon me.
Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind; in your great compassion turn to me.”
Yesterday Rich taught from the gospel of Luke – The Pharisee and the Tax Collector. I had been meditating on it as well through the week. I am mostly Pharisee but I am also a Tax Collector that knows I need to lay my burdens down and continually pray, Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
We don’t like to talk about sin in our culture much anymore. Maybe the concept has been distorted and used to damage people rather than bring the life of acknowledging the truth and naming it. Naming it to a God that embraces and loves me no matter what. Extravagant love of the Tax Collector is just too much for me to accept. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s unreal. Not only embracing and loving the Tax Collector once, but over and over again, all the Tax Collector does is name it, then comes life, then comes the unconditional love of God that washes my burdens away…the love that is always there, always extended…I don’t have a conscious sense of it until I stop, I name it, and I pray…
“Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind, in your great compassion turn to me.”
Then my heart is postured to receive, (as much as I am able) the depth of love and forgiveness the LORD has for me…
Lord have mercy on me a sinner…