Good morning brothers and sisters,
I came across a site you might consider using for your spiritual disciplines. d365.org is a daily devotional that is technically targeted toward students, but I like the simplicity of what they do. It's also supported by the PC(USA) Office of Christian Formation.
Each day's entry is divided into five steps:
pause, listen, think, pray, and go. You can likely read it in under 5 minutes. I scrolled through a few of the most recent entries on the "archives" tab. It appears that each week has a theme that ties the devotions together. 2 weeks ago was "Be Loved," last week was "Be One," and this week is "Be With." I thought I'd share the entry for this past Sunday, 7/12...Be With:
Stop for a moment. Lift your eyes. Become aware of the needs around you.
Who are your neighbors? How might you share your life with them this week?
When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. -- Matthew 14:13-14
It’s a familiar story, right? Many of us have grown up hearing about Jesus' miracles on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Yet today, I read it a little differently. Did you pay attention to that first verse? Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
Sometimes the weight of the world is too heavy. We must retreat. Spend time in solitude. Grieve. Cry. Pray. Grief wasn’t foreign to Jesus. Jesus knew the hurt of losing someone he loved! And then did you notice what happened next? Jesus recognized the needs around him, had compassion for the people, and healed the sick.
It’s been a difficult season. There are many losses to grieve. The loss of security, community, experiences, and life. Take heart. God goes with us into our places of solitude and grief, but God also moves with us to the places where we find community and to the people who need our love, companionship, and compassion. It’s up to us to recognize needs around us and to respond.
--- Mary Katherine Johnson
Loving God, thank you for the promise that you are always with us – in the most difficult times and in the most joyous times. Help me to be a source of love, companionship, and compassion in my community today. Amen.
Go today with your eyes wide open and a new awareness to the needs of others around you.
Look for ways to Be With your neighbors today... even if not face to face.
And the wisdom and strength of Christ, who is With You always, be your guide.
* * * * *
Pause. Listen. Think. Pray. Go.
Simple...and a great way to approach our faith and spiritual development.
Always looking for ways to Be With you as a church family,