Daily Office Readings for Saturday of the 2nd Week of Easter: Year 2
Morning, Psalms 20 and 21; Evening, Psalms 110:1-5(6-7) and Psalms 116 and 117
Exodus 17:1 to 16; 1st Peter 4:7 to 19; John 16:16 to 33:
“When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.” (John 16: 21)
Perhaps labor pain is the one pain that Jesus did not actually experience but it doesn’t take away from the point he is making, and that is that we go through some discomfort that brings about more than just relief, it brings newness of life and great pleasure.
The book of Ecclesiastes seems to me to have as its running theme that “all is vanity.” This suggests to me that perhaps our whole life is but the off-and-on-again labor of love until we finally come into new life as a heavenly being.
The stresses of this life can be emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual. At this writing, we are witnessing the horrors and devastation of Ukraine by the Russian army, which also impacts the other stresses we suffer, even way over here in the U.S.; it impacts our emotional, psychological and our spiritual health.
As a dedicated believer and a person of prayer, my default, or go-to, position is the spiritual. Armed with the understanding that I will not live forever, it is through my spiritual self that I believe is eternal. So, as St. Peter says in our readings for today:
“The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4: 7 – 11)
And I believe that this is who we are called to be. We, as Christians, are baptized into servanthood. To not serve using our God-given gifts is like having continuous labor pains without bringing forth the promised new life ever. We serve across the street and across the globe.
I pray that our emotional, psychological and our spiritual labor pains turn to joy when Ukraine rises from their tomb as did our Lord Jesus on their Easter Day of victory and Independence.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John