The thought behind the photo:
We can grow to be steadfast, because God is steadfast.
Give me, O Lord
A steadfast heart
Which no unworthy thought can drag downwards;
An unconquered heart
Which no tribulation can wear out;
An upright heart
Which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow upon me also,
O Lord my God,
Understanding to know Thee,
Diligence to seek Thee,
Wisdom to find Thee, and
A faithfulness that may finally embrace Thee;
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
– Thomas Aquinas
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 108:1-5 NRSV
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth.
The December 11, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com
SCRIPTURE: Romans 15:5-7 NRSV
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
We can each list a number of things that wear us down. Tired of living from paycheck to paycheck. Tired of institutional inequality and inequity. Tired of not fully being recognized for who we are or what gifts we bring. Tired of fighting the good fight. Tired of being tired.
But did you notice that these verses don’t talk about our steadfastness, but God’s. If God has welcomed all of us, are we not to be imitators of God by extending welcome to others?
If God has done this for us, might we remain steadfast in our welcome of one another until there is no more insider and outsider?
As you reflect on what it is that God calls you to remain steadfast, may this hymn remind us to make our homes and places where we gather, places where all are welcome.
All Are Welcome*
Let us build a house where love can dwell
And all can safely live,
A place where saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
Rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;
Let us build a house where prophets speak,
And words are strong and true,
Where all God’s children dare to seek
To dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
And a symbol of God’s grace;
Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
Let us build a house where love is found
In water, wine and wheat:
A banquet hall on holy ground,
Where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
Is revealed in time and space;
As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:
*Marty Haugen | Copyright: 1994 GIA Publications
Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.
Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.
Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><