Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stop Trying So hard!

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2  through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3  And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5  and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7  Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8  But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9  Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11  But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

We can so easily spend our lives seeking an inner satisfaction in the wrong places: some think meaning in life is found through achievement of career goals; some see money and possessions as a guarantee of personal contentment; while some seek the attainment of inner peace through personal moral and religious discipline. Paul disagrees: since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

The invitation for today is for us to stop trying so hard! Let go of the compulsive striving. The great Reformation watchword was “sola fide” – justification by faith through Grace alone.  Allow space for God to love you as you are. Be open to peace being a consequence of a prior decision to entrust your life into God’s care. Having chosen to trust the One who made you – get on with living the life God has given you. Work hard, play much and laugh from your belly.

Clement of Rome (d.110), "And we who through his will have been called in Christ Jesus are justified, not by ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or godliness, or the works that we have done in holiness of heart, but by faith, by which all men from the beginning have been justified by Almighty God, to whom be glory world without end. Amen." (First Clement, 32-33)

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Sixth  Sunday of Easter
Chosen by God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 173.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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