Pondering for Thursday, January 19, 2023

Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 2nd Week of Epiphany: Year 1

Morning, Psalm 37:1 to 18; Evening, Psalm 37:19 to 42:
Isaiah 45:5 to 17Ephesians 5:15 to 33Mark 4:21 to 34:

“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18 to 20)

Full disclosure, I am not on board with everything that Paul says, especially as for as his suggestions about husbands to wives.  As far as we know, Paul was never married.  I feel marriage is an equal partnership.  However, I will not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is something really good to be learned regarding the psalms and hymns prayed and sung to the Lord.

Hymns and spiritual songs are a part of our rich Church tradition. My two favorites are “Lead Me, Guide Me,” from Lift Every Voice and Sing, and “Praise to the Lord,” (hymn number 390) from our 1982 Hymnal.  Lead Me, Guide me is my way of starting my day. “For if God leads me, I cannot stray.”  Even singing this daily, I still fail to follow close enough, I’m human. “Praise to the Lord” is just my happy song.  The melody and words please me.

I invite you to search for, and select one or two hymns that sort of identify your spiritual self, and then sing them every day. I have heard from somewhere that singing a hymn is praying twice. If you do this, the words will resonate with you and strengthen your spiritual connection with God.

While I don’t think Paul was an authority on marriage, and the treatment of women in particular, he definitely shares the love of God in Christ Jesus through his messages of love and instructions for holy living. Amen.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Iran and China.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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