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2015 Daily Devotions

Friday, January 2, 2015

by
Dan Peeler
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families

Scripture
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15.4

A Word of Hope

On this second day of the New Year, it is interesting to consider the fact that you and I are people of the past. We say we live in the present and envision truly hopeful futures, but all those memories of earlier days, both joyful and hurtful, still linger and continue to create the amalgam we call ourselves.

I remember in school when I first started to learn about conjugating verbs, and when we came across that verb tense called “past perfect.” Even then I thought it odd that someone came up with that term in the first place. Could even a verb have had a perfect past? Years later, I discovered that most every word we utter has arrived to us pretty badly bruised in it’s journey from Latin, German, Greek, Romanian or whatever; certainly products of a less-than-perfect past. In its varied and colorful heritage, English is actually a pretty inclusive language.

I’m sure none of us would claim that our past is any closer to perfect than the words we use to describe it and many of us find it difficult to make peace with it. I still sometimes cringe at memories of the rehearsed and packaged answers I used to give children many years ago in Sunday school classes, thinking that was all they would ever need to know. I was taught in those days that the Bible literally contained all the answers for every question people living in our century could conjure up. As my theology evolved through the years, I often regretted those conservative encounters, but now, I’m actually grateful for much of what I learned back then, especially about the Bible stories’ content and where to find them. My past also taught me how not to teach children (or adults!) and that it’s actually okay not to have all the answers; that children are more satisfied with an honest, “I really don’t know,” or “what do you think about that?” than with pat answers they are bound to deconstruct later.

We teach others best when we allow our pasts to teach us first and though none of our pasts are perfect, they are a perfectly good start.

Prayer
God of wisdom, help us to recall all the evidence of your workings in our past that we may learn to work for your greater good in the future.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope Devotion we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

by
Dan Peeler
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families

Scripture
“The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” 1 Peter 4.7-9

A Word of Hope

Today, as you might have heard, is New Year’s Day; a time when we look forward to a fresh start for a hopeful future, a day to reflect on the end of yet another twelve months of our lives and a good time to remember the words if 1 Peter. The writer of the letter we call 1 Peter was a very realistic individual. Written near the end of the first century probably by one of the Apostle Paul’s followers, the brief note was sent from Rome to various church leaders in Asia Minor in order to instruct and encourage them in the last days. But it’s almost 2,000 years later and the world still hasn’t ended. What happened?

I believe the writer was realistic because he or she could look around and clearly see the world they had always known swiftly coming to a close. The glorious temple of Jerusalem was little more than a pile of broken stones with a familiar worship system buried under it. Followers of the new Christian cult of Judaism had scattered all around the Mediterranean and were in jeopardy from all sides, hated by former friends and new enemies alike. Their world was literally ending.

There are interpreters today who will tell you that Peter was actually referring to the “real” end times that our own generation will face. In a way, they’re right. In my own life, I have witnessed the end of all things several times; new technologies becoming old, old faith systems evolving into new ones, expanded views of what “loving my neighbor” really implies. 2014 saw a lot of changes and transitions in our church as well, but ending with the great hope of 2015 promising the beginning of a new adventure for all of us.

The real-world view outlined in 1 Peter addresses the multitude of endings and beginnings we have always faced and always will. New Year’s Day is the perfect time to consider the lessons we’ve learned from our past triumphs and challenges to help us create a better future. It’s up to us to make it a Happy New Year!

Prayer
May every ending in our lives signal a new beginning in our commitments to prayer, love for others, hospitality, and good use of our gifts in service through the grace of God.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope Devotion we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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