The Last Hour…

December 31, 2021
Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, on this New Year’s Eve, our spirits are occupied with the passage of time – the endings and beginnings that compose a life.

In the public domain, this night is often characterized as one of wild celebrations, almost as if we need to prove our endurance within time.

But in the privacy of our hearts, there are the moments of quiet nostalgia, bittersweet memory, and inexpressible gratitude for all that has been in this past year and the years preceding.


On this Sacred Eve, as people of faith, we will hold time’s hourglass up to the Light of eternity, knowing that – in God – there is no time.

In God, there is only love – the only human capacity which endures beyond time. In heaven, we will not need faith because we will see. We will not need hope, because all will be fulfilled.

But we will always need love.

In the end, there are three things that last –
faith, hope, and love.
And the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13


Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

So before the tolls welcome midnight, let us raise up to God our Eucharist of 2021:

  • those whose lives have been completed; those who have just begun
  • the efforts we made which succeeded; those which failed
  • the dreams secured; the dreams abandoned
  • the opportunities for grace that we seized; those lost which we hope to reclaim
  • the prayers answered as we had desired; the prayers answered in ways we hadn’t expected
  • all that we have loved; all that we hope to love more worthily

As John says in our first reading,
“Children, it is the last hour …” 
May we let it go
with gratitude, wisdom and joy.

But as John also says in our Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God …
…. and from his fullness we have all received,
grace flowing upon grace …

May we welcome the grace
of eternal life and hope
given to us
in another New Year.

New Year’s Chimes by Francis Thompson, the English poet and Catholic mystic whose most famous poem is “The Hound of Heaven”. The poem is so worth your time if you can spare it. I take it in small doses to squeeze out the amazing imagery in every stanza.


What is the song the stars sing?
(And a million songs are as song of one)
This is the song the stars sing:
(Sweeter song’s none).

One to set, and many to sing.
(And a million songs are as song of one)
One to stand, and many to cling,
The many things and the one Thing,
The one that runs not, the many that run.

The ever new weaveth the ever old,
(And a million songs are as song of one)
Ever telling the never told;
The silver saith, and the said is gold,
And done ever the never done.

The Chase that’s chased is the Lord o’ the chase,
(And a million songs are as song of one)
And the Pursued cries on in the race;
And the hounds in leash are the hounds that run.

Hidden stars by the shown stars’ sheen;
(And a million suns are but as one)
Colours unseen by the colours seen,
And sounds unheard heard sounds between.
And a night is in the light of the sun.

An ambuscade of light in night,
(And a million secrets are but as one)
And a night is dark in the sun’s light,
And a world in the world man looks upon.

The world above in the world below,
(And a million worlds are but as one)
And the One in all; as the sun’s strength so
Strives in all strength, glows in all glow
Of the earth that wits not, and man thereon.

Braced in its own fourfold embrace
(and a million worlds are but as one)
And round it all God’s arms of grace,
The world, so as the Vision says,
Doth with its great lightning tramples on.

And the thunder bruiteth into thunder,
(And a million sounds are as sound of one)
From stellate peak to peak is tossed a voice of wonder
And the height stoops down to the depths thereunder,
And sun leans forth to his brother sun.

And the more ample years unfold
(With a million songs as song of one)
A little new of the ever old,
A little told of the never told,
Added act of the never done.

Loud the descant, and low the theme,
(A million songs are as song of one)
And the dream of the world is dream in dream,
But the one Is is, or nought could seem;
And the song runs round to the song begun.

This is the song the stars sing,
(Tunèd all in time)
Tintinnabulous, tuned to ring
A multitudinous-single thing
(Rung all in rhyme).

Blessed 2022, dear friends.


Music: Two songs — for “old times sake”?

Amazing Grace ~ Salt Lake City Vocal Artists

Auld Lang Syne – sung by Helmut Lotti

A Scriptural Banquet

December 5, 2021
Second Sunday of Advent

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Baruch, Paul, Luke (channeling Isaiah), and Psalm 126. The passages given us are rich, lyrical, joyful and profound.


The Lord has done great things for us;
we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3


For this whole coming week, we are invited to a scriptural banquet – the table set with  preciously familiar Advent phrases to, once again, enrich and challenge our hearts.

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
    put on the splendor of glory from God forever…

Baruch 5:1

I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it 
until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
    “Prepare the way of the Lord,
        make straight his paths.
    Every valley shall be filled
        and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
    The winding roads shall be made straight,
        and the rough ways made smooth,
    and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Luke 3: 4-6

As with any banquet, we can approach this richness by taking a little bit of every offering, or we might prefer to fill up on one inspiration that particularly speaks to us at this moment in our lives.

  • Is there a misery we long to have lifted from our shoulders?
  • Is there a confidence and strength we seek from God?
  • Is there a sacred voice we need to hear, 
  • a crooked way needing straightening, 
  • an emptiness to be filled, 
  • an insurmountable challenge to be faced, 
  • a roughness to be smoothed?

Whatever our situation, by placing our needs faithfully before the promise of Advent, we will find the healing, hope, and grace we need.

Let these magnificent words seep into your heart to ready it for the promised salvation. For it is Advent – and

God is leading Israel in joy
    by the light of Divine Glory,
    with mercy and justice for company.

Baruch 5:9

Prose: from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.


Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability –
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God can say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Music: Starlight through Barren Branches – Joel Clarkson

The Healing Word

October 18, 2021
Feast of St. Luke

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke, evangelist, writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, and devoted missionary companion of Paul.

Luke’s Gospel is unique in several ways. 

Six miracles appear only in Luke:

  • the miraculous catch of fish
  • the raising of the widow’s only son
  • healing a possessed, crippled woman
  • healing a man with dropsy
  • cleansing of ten lepers 
  • healing the man’s ear in Gethsemane
Good Samaritan – Vincent Van Gogh

Eighteen parables are unique to Luke, including the beloved stories of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.

Prodigal Son – Rembrandt

While both Matthew and Luke contain the story of Christ’s birth, only Luke includes those beautiful passages which now comprise the joyful mysteries of the rosary: Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, and Finding in the Temple.

Only Luke gives us the Magnificat and the cherished words of the Hail Mary.

The Visitation – Domenico Ghirlandaio

Think of all that we would not be able to visualize without Luke’s blessed writings. No Gabriel. No Elizabeth, Zachary, Anna or Simeon. No tender Samaritan or merciful loving Prodigal Father to show us God’s face.

Maybe some of your favorite passages are among these Lucan treasures. You might want to choose one to accompany you throughout your day.


Poetry: Luke by Malcolm Guite

His gospel is itself a living creature
A ground and glory round the throne of God,
Where earth and heaven breathe through human nature
And One upon the throne sees it is good.

Luke is the living pillar of our healing,
A lowly ox, the servant of the four,
We turn his page to find his face revealing
The wonder, and the welcome of the poor.

He breathes good news to all who bear a burden
Good news to all who turn and try again,
The meek rejoice and prodigals find pardon,
A lost thief reaches paradise through pain,

The voiceless find their voice in every word
And, with Our Lady, magnify Our Lord.

Music: The Gospel According to Luke ~ Skip Ewing – a different but interesting take on Luke’s Gospel. The music today is a country song, not really about St. Luke’s Gospel, but certainly reflecting its love and respect for those who are poor.

Grace … God’s Life in Us

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time 
October 11, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98

God has made salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations revealing justice.
God has remembered mercy and faithfulness
    toward God’s People.

Psalm 98: 2-3

Indeed God has made salvation known through the gift of Sacred Scripture. And I feel so enthused about the next month’s prayer because, also today, we begin about a month of readings from Paul’s letter to the Romans. (We will also continue with Luke’s Gospel all the way up to Advent.)

Like the rest of Sacred Scripture, which has God for its transcendent author, Paul’s Letter to the Romans has a spiritual and theological depth that is literally inexhaustible.

Scott W. Hahn: Romans

In praying with Romans, I am using a book by Scott W. Hahn, Father Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology at Steubenville University. In his introduction, Hahn says this:


Today’s reading offered me these elements to ponder and pray with:

  • Paul calls himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ
  • He invokes his call as an Apostle
  • He sets himself in the company of the prophets
  • He appeals to Jews who revere David
  • but proclaims Christ, through his Resurrection, as Messiah beyond human lineage
  • He proclaims his mission to the Gentiles
  • to bring about “the obedience of faith”

I’ll be honest with you. I’ve read or heard this passage maybe a hundred times in my lifetime, and it has meant little or nothing to me. At best, it has sounded like a formal introduction such as those we hear from government “whereas” type decrees.

But I took Dr. Hahn’s advice, studying the passage, and reading it slowly and prayerfully. Here’s what I received:

  • Paul’s Apostolic call, to which he willingly enslaved his heart, was to preach the Good News of our redemption in Jesus Christ – to preach it to Jews, Romans, Gentiles, and all people.
  • It is an awesomely incredible message that can be received only through the gift of faith.
  • It is a message rooted in the scripture stories we love, and where we look to find a reflection of our own life stories.
  • Learning from these realities will help us come to a faith which expresses itself in action and gives glory to God in our own time.


Luke gives us one such story today. Jesus reminds the crowd of two familiar passages – that of Jonah and the “Queen of the South” (the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10).

Jesus indicates that the people in these stories
believed without a sign.


Jesus tells the people gathered around him  to learn from this. The crowd demands a sign, but Jesus says the sign is right in front of you – it is only your open heart that is lacking.

In his introduction, Paul prays for such open hearts in the Romans:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

By that same grace, may we receive faith’s blessing as well.


Poetry: The Avowal – Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding GRACE.

Music: Grace and Peace – Fernando Ortega

Memorial of Saint John Vianney

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 106 which mirrors the story told in our first reading from Numbers.

It takes some doing to pray with these passages, at least for me. On the surface, they offer us spies and wars and a vengeful God whom Moses has to placate – images that don’t speak to my spiritual life.


But, as always with scripture, I ask if there is a meaning for me underneath that surface story? I found it in the word “breach”.

God is always trying to break through – to breach – the surface of our lives to teach us divine meaning. But we are often spiritually short-sighted like the spies who report back to Moses. We sometimes let our simplistic observations of life block us from its true depth and call.

But Moses, because of his unique relationship with God, has been cleared of those blockages. He opens up – breaches – the surface to help the people connect with God’s power.

Photo by Silvana Palacios on Pexels.com

What allows me to “breach” my limited understandings and to see all life as God, shining through experience? 

For me? Sweet silence. Faithful prayer. Reaching for the “dearest freshness” of an obedient heart and a resolute love.


Poetry: God’s Grandeur- Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Music: from Freshness Green Soothing Relaxation 

Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, August 2, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 81, and today’s verses sound a little harsh. The Lord seems a bit fed up with Israel’s hungers:

My people heard not my voice,
    and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
    they walked according to their own counsels.

Psalm 81:12-13

Translated to 21st century jargon that verse might sound like this:

I love them and all, but come on!
    They don’t follow my advice;
so the heck with their stubbornness.
    Let them stew in their own juices!

Renee’s unofficial imaginings 🙂

But see, here’s the thing. God is never like that with us. God is, instead, everlastingly patient with us. God stays with us until we – hopefully – respond to Grace.

And don’t we sometimes really test God’s patience! Moses was great at it — pushing and pushing for God to make things easier for him. 

I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.

Numbers 11:14-15

Picture Moses standing in front of God, hands on hips yelling, “I’ve had it! Why not just kill me now?!?!”

The verse actually makes me chuckle because I also picture God, smothering a smile at Moses’s tantrum, and thinking, “Maybe some quail will settle this guy down for the long haul.”


Today’s psalm and reading from Numbers remind us that each of our lives is an unfolding journey in relationship with God. It is a journey that requires us to listen and respond over and over again. At each response we move ever deeper into the heart of God, letting go of those things which impede us from our destination.

If only my people would hear me,
    and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
    against their foes I would turn my hand.

Psalm 81: 14-15

God is our help
and is ALWAYS present with us.
If we can listen to our deep lives,
we will know that
and our spirits will sing.

Poetry: Moses by Alan Kanfer

Whatever residue of pride adhere
To eyes, to bones, to hair will shed like sand
When we discover the The Name is near
And fire is Light, and we are asked to stand.
That night my hair was like a fell of sheep,
My bones like water, I was weak and dumb:
My perfume reeked like camp whores that we keep.
I stood, receiving “I am that I am.”
How small the distance is between the root
And flower: the Name is near as our consent,
As our denial. Coming up the hill on foot
Long after, knowing we must be content
With shadow of The Name, I shed my will
But not my love: the final miracle.


Music: Frangeti – George Winston

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 1, 2021

Today in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with our Sunday readings, so full of wisdom for our lives.

“Don’t we have anything decent to eat around here?” “There’s nothing to eat in this house !”  

How many times do parents hear these complaints from their growing teenagers! The problem? They’re not looking for the apples, or eggs, or yogurt, or avocados which actually are in the fridge. They’re looking for junk!

Today’s first reading reflects a similar situation with the Jews in the desert. They are hungry, but not for the spiritual food Yahweh is offering them. They complain continuously. So God relents, feeding them manna and quail. But God is clear. He says, “I have done this so that you may know I am the Lord, your God.”


In the Gospel, Jesus admonishes his listeners, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” Jesus doesn’t mean we should stop eating. He knows that we need food and other things in order to live. What He wants us to understand is that these things have only secondary importance to the food for our soul, a sustenance which we often relegate to inferior status, to “when we have time”.


In his advice to the Ephesians, Paul says that to live without spiritual awareness is “to live in the futility of our minds”. It’s a powerful phrase, generating an image of us running around in our heads after all sorts of vain worries and goals — junk.

Paul’s advice? Get over that running around! Put on a New Self!

At our essence, we are hungry for the
Bread of Life.
Nothing else will fill that emptiness.


Poetry:  We Are Such a Mix – Mary Ellen Smajo, author at ignatianspirituality.com

we are such a mix of thorns and thread;
why do You insist on living in the midst,
even among the broken bowls and spilled strengths?
I’ve seen You sift among the crumbs
and find (I don’t know how) a loaf;
what we tear, touch to make us mend;
and show again to sift and share and be again the bread.


Music: Bread of Life ~ Bernadette Farrell 

Bread of life, hope of the world,
Jesus Christ, our brother:
feed us now, give us life,
lead us to one another.

As we proclaim your death,
as we recall your life,
we remember your promise
to return again.

Bread of life, hope of the world,
Jesus Christ, our brother:
feed us now, give us life,
lead us to one another.

The bread we break and share
was scattered once as grain:
just as now it is gathered,
make your people one.

Bread of life, hope of the world,
Jesus Christ, our brother:
feed us now, give us life,
lead us to one another.

We eat this living bread,
we drink this saving cup:
sign of hope in our broken world,
source of lasting love.

Hold us in unity,
in love for all to see;
that the world may believe in you,
God of all who live.

You are the bread of peace,
you are the wine of joy,
broken now for your people,
poured in endless love.

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 84 – one of the loveliest.

My soul yearns and pines 
    for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!

Psalm 84: 3-6

The image of God’s dwelling places raises so many possibilities for prayer:

  • Mary, the dwelling of Jesus as he completed incarnation 
  • Eucharist, Christ’s continuing dwelling with us
  • Ourselves and all creatures as dwelling places of God’s spirit

Thinking of a dwelling place, many characteristics come to mind. Foremost for me is hospitality. We must be welcomed into a place in order to dwell there. We must be comfortable, cared about, and appreciated. We must feel at home.

We’ve all been in homes that make us feel this way, and hopefully our own home offers such hospitality to us and others. I think this morning of three old friends now at home with God. They were the sisters of a beloved pastor with whom I worked. We got to know them well at the time of his death and continued our friendship until they too died.

We often visited their old but perfectly appointed little home. And their hospitality took very evident forms: a prepared pitcher of Manhattans in the fridge, little snacks that we might have mentioned we liked, lively conversation, and the sharing of life-making stories – with a few secrets sprinkled in between.

I think that’s the same kind of hospitable home Mary, Martha, and Lazarus offered Jesus – a tasty meal, some good wine, and the sharing of life, laughter, and tears.


When we open our hearts to be dwelling places for God, we too can share the bread of life, the wine of experience, and the certainty of love with our infinitely hospitable Creator.

What immeasurable gifts! Having received them from God, may we offer them to others especially those who find them nowhere else.


Poetry: Dwelling Place – Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) who was a Welsh metaphysical poet, illustrator, translator, and physician

John 1:38-39 

What happy secret fountain, 
Fair shade or mountain, 
Whose undiscovered virgin glory 
Boasts it this day, though not in story, 
Was then thy dwelling? Did some cloud, 
Fixed to a tent, descend a shroud 
My distressed Lord? Or did a star, 
Beckoned by Thee, though high and far, 
In sparkling smiles haste gladly down 
To lodge light and increase her own? 
My dear, dear God! I do not know 
What lodged Thee then, nor where, nor how; 
But I am sure Thou dost now come 
Oft to a narrow, homely room, 
Where Thou too hast but the least part: 
My God, I mean my sinful heart.

Music: Dwelling Place – John Foley, SJ

(If the video says “Unavailable”, click on “Watch on YouTube” to get it.

Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, June 23, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 19, a testament to God’s Word as living and real in our lives. This psalm foreshadows the beautiful words from John’s Gospel.

Our first reading recounts God’s presentation of the Ten Commandments on Sinai. This code was the basic framework for the community’s response to God’s gift of relationship. God was saying, “Here’s what I need from you to make this thing work.”

Psalm 19 shows us that even though this “Law” was “carved in stone”, it was lived in the hearts of the faithful. It was dynamic, required nuance and interpretation, needed human engagement to fully come to life.

In other words, the “Law” had to live, come off the stone, and into hearts.


When this happens, we grow in the essence of “law”, which is love, reverence, mutuality, and generosity. We experience God’s Word as gift and delight. We long to learn more perfectly what, in our choices and actions, can bring us closer to God.

Then the law becomes, as Psalm 19 tells us:

  • perfect, refreshing the soul
  • trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple
  • right, rejoicing the heart
  • clear, enlightening the eye.
  • pure, enduring forever;
  • true,
  • just
  • more precious than gold
  • sweeter also than syrup
  • or honey from the comb.

We all know people who claim to live by a static, lifeless but recite-able law. They can readily quote some out-of-context scripture to judge, reprimand, or condemn. It’s sad because the Word has died in them.

The Law of Love grows in the rich soil of today’s Gospel. It meets life with an honest, open, and loving spirit to find the unique adventure of grace God wants for each of us.

Pope Francis, when speaking of the Law, said this:

Our God is the God of nearness, a God who is near, who walks with his people. That image in the desert, in Exodus: the cloud and the pillar of fire to protect the people: He walks with his people. He is not a God who leaves the written prescriptions and says, “Go ahead.” He makes the prescriptions, writes them with his own hands on the stone, gives them to Moses, hands them to Moses, but does not leave the prescriptions and leaves: He walks, He is close. “Which nation has such a close God?” It’s the nearness. Ours is a God of nearness.


Poetry: What is the Root? – Hafiz

What
Is the
Root of all these
Words?

One thing: love.
But a love so deep and sweet
It needed to express itself
With scents, sounds, colors
That never before
Existed.

Music: Your Word is Life to Me – Travis Cottrell

I am a stranger in this place

This world is not my home

I want more than it can give

I am a desert needing rain

I’m thirsty for Your voice

The very reason that I live

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

Only the power of Your Word

Can melt away these chains

That have held me far too long

So light the fire and let it burn

These shackles and restraints

And I will sing this freedom song

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

Lamp unto my feet, light unto my path

Shine, shine on

You are the Word, my one desire

And all consuming Holy fire

The very breath that I am longing for

My heart is desperate for Your ways

Refine me in Your holy blaze

If that is what it takes to know You more

You are the Truth that sets me free

Your word is life to me

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 19, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a selection from Exodus which you will probably recognize from the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night. It describes one of the most astounding displays of power in the Hebrew Scriptures.

by Frederick Arthur Bridgman

Stand with the author on the other side of the Red Sea and feel the pounding exultation:

I will sing to the LORD who is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot casting into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
who has been my savior.
my God, whom I praise;
the God of my father, whom I extol.

It is a beautifully cadenced victory chant, and I have always loved hearing it at the vigil as we celebrate our deliverance from death through Christ’s Resurrection.


Imagine those “chariots and charioteers”, ancient symbols of power and oppression!

So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.

Exodus 14: 6-7

What chance did the unarmed, rag tag horde of fleeing Israelites hold against such power?

The power they held was this –
faith in God’s promise
and obedience to its unfolding
in their lives.

It wasn’t easy for them! Moses had to bolster them in their fear and hesitation.

But Moses answered the people,
“Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Exodus 14: 13-14

Within these readings, the parallels to our own lives are abundant. If not now, at least at some time, we will have overwhelming forces pursue us. We will be afraid. Our faith will be tested. We will doubt.

If we can “be still”, bolstering our trust in prayer, God will reveal our particular deliverance. It may not look like what we imagined, nor exactly fit what we might have prayed for.

But in trusting prayer, the flood waters of grace release and resurrect us from all that threatens our souls.

The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.

Exodus 15: 5-6

Poetry: I think the psalm is its own poem today.😉


Music: Horse and Chariot – let these kids wake up our faith today!