Support the Café
Search our site

“The Lord is Near”

“The Lord is Near”

Friday, February 24, 2012 — Lent

Saint Matthias the Apostle

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer)

EITHER the readings for Friday of Week of Last Epiphany, p. 951

Psalms 95* & 31 (morning) 35 (evening)

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Philippians 4:1-9

John 17:9-19

OR the readings for St. Matthias, p. 997

Morning: Psalm 80; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 John 2:18-25

Evening: Psalm 33; 1 Samuel 12:1-5; Acts 20:17-35

I chose the readings for Friday of Last Epiphany

“The Lord is near.” What a gentle encouragement. Much of the intention of the many prayer disciplines is to create in us a constant sense of God’s presence. Classical spirituality calls it “recollection” — the state of being constantly aware of God and responsive to God’s presence. Some use the word “mindfulness”. A gentle reminder — “the Lord is near” — repeated over and over can help plant a mindful consciousness within us. Some people repeat the Jesus Prayer or some other mantra for that purpose.

I love the way that phrase “the Lord is near” is nestled within Paul’s beautiful hymn that we read today. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That’s my wife’s favorite passage of scripture. It is one that she memorized as a child. I think I too can say it “by heart.” It is good to take the time to memorize such truths. We say we know them by heart. They dwell in our hearts. When you have prayed certain prayers for many years, you know them by heart. Like the Lord’s Prayer. In a deep sense, these words of God dwell within us when we know them by heart.

I intend to make it a habit today to recall over and over again “the Lord is near.” And then, every once in a while, when I’m not having to concentrate, I’m going to try to repeat by heart Paul’s beautiful words, “Rejoice in the Lord always…” Doing little exercises like that is a way of following Paul’s advice in the subsequent passage. He tells us to think about certain things — “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Remembering “the Lord is near” is a brief way of doing all of this.

______

P.S. Today’s passage in Ezekiel is an important one. Ezekiel challenges an old tradition that punishment is passed on for the sins of previous generations. Jeremiah has a similar opinion (Jer. 31:29-30). Their words dispute the traditions from the Ten Commandments and elsewhere, “…punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation…” (Ex. 20:5)

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Roberta Karstetter

Maria, that is EXACTLY what came to my mind and sang in my spirit when I started reading Lowell Grisham's sharing...(the Taize song lyrics posted by Maria Evans). Love that hymn. Good sharing too Lowell!

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Maria L. Evans

One of my favorite Taizé songs is this one:

"In the Lord I'll be ever thankful,

In the Lord I will rejoice.

Look to God, do not be afraid,

Lift up your voices, the Lord is near;

Lift up your voices, the Lord is near."

I think why I like it is because it tells me twice that the Lord is near, as well as that most popular thing angels tell us in the Bible--don't be afraid.

Thanks for a wonderful posting today, Lowell!

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café