A DIARY OF DAILY PRAYER
30 May 2020
Opening Sentences (responsive) Psalm 100 (Stephen Mitchell)
Sing to the Lord, all creatures!
Worship him with your joy, praise him with the sound of your laughter.
Know that we all belong to him, that he is our source and our home.
Enter his light with thanksgiving; fill your hearts with his praise.
For his goodness is beyond comprehension,
And his deep love endures forever.
Prayer for Illumination
Joy-filled God, by faith we know you created the world, and that what is seen is made of things that are not visible. Open our eyes to your presence among us that we may hear your word with clarity and a sureness of hope, as we follow you in all righteousness. Amen.
Hymn Tis a Gift to be Simple
Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and learn to say,
‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.
READ TEXT: Isaiah 55:1, 12
1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price… 12 For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God said to the people of Israel who had been exiled in Babylon nearly 50 years – “Everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters. Everyone who is hungry, come buy wine and bread and milk. The cost for food and drink is zero. There is plenty for everyone. The only entrance requirement is…hunger and thirst!”
I suppose at some level I have spent these years with you helping you to realize that you are hungry and thirsty…and that for which you are really hungry and thirsty.
Isaiah was not talking about literal desire for food and drink, was he? He was talking about the hunger for wholeness and comfort and meaning and love and acceptance. He was talking about a kind of hunger and thirst for something that neither money nor success nor power can purchase. The real hunger and thirst we have, but so regularly ignore, is for God and for what God gives free of charge.
For a time Tom Currie was Professor of Theology and Dean of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte, NC, campus. He wrote this about joy: Celebrating Sabbath, confessing Christ, and praying are tools God gives to us. In fact, they are the tools God gives us for “practicing the scales of rejoicing” – i.e., enabling us to claim our freedom as human creatures who are made for doxology. It is in the praise of God that our humanity flourishes, and as we find joy there we discover it in the other strange places God has put it in the world: in the least of these, in the lilies of the field, even in the cross whose radical decentering of every sinner brings joy into the world.[i]
To the people of Israel, God said, “Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so you may live.” That is God’s desire – i.e., that we live – that we recognize our hunger and thirst are for God and so we turn to God to buy spiritual food and drink for free. God’s desire is that we join the celebration. Won’t you come along?
Ever-present God, my spirit has been brushed by an awareness I was at one with you and the encounter left me joy-filled, bruised, and hungry for more. Was this what I was made for? Release me, Lord, from that which keeps me from being more attentive to you, your overtures, and therefore to my true condition before you. Amen.
May the God of hope fill with all joy and peace in believing…so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
[i] Currie, Thomas W. III. 2008. The Joy of Ministry. Louisville: WJK Press, 74.