Grace in Our Failing – An offering from Diane Pennington

February 20, 2018
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Psalm 51: 1-4 NRSV

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
    and blameless when you pass judgment.

In our current cultural and political climate, we can barely determine truth, let alone justice. It is both a comfort and a horror to know that God sees through our public exterior to the truth of our hearts.  I am both grateful for and terrified of this fact, depending on the state of my heart and mind any given day, hour or moment.
It’s interesting to note that David wrote this psalm after he had been with Bathsheba and was wracked with guilt over his transgression. He says, “Against you, and you ALONE have I sinned, and done what is evil in his sight”… He doesn’t factor in any other relationship or consequence than his relationship to the Almighty. He knows he is SEEN and that there is no fooling God. What a gift that forces us to see ourselves then with such clarity and authenticity, humility and vulnerability.
How hard is it for us to speak to God when we know how completely we have failed in loving, in our thinking and behavior?
How glorious that, because the Lord desires relationship with US, he invites us to be in his presence and see ourselves.  Not just in the light of guilt or failing, but awash in the knowledge of his love, his fairness and above all his mercy. In the presence of His great grace, how can be help but be humble, grateful and to then extend His mercy to others?
Jesus, merciful Savior, thank you for your grace and love that goes far ahead of your justice. We are not worthy, but we are deeply grateful. AMEN
(c) 2018 Diane Pennington
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An offering from Nancy J: Chosen by God to be created and loved

July 10, 2015
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Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own, through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes . . . we who stand before him covered with his love. (Eph 1: 4)

(c) Bonnie Oden
(c) Bonnie Oden

 

I notice the contrast between the pine cones and the trees . . . so many more cones than trees.  How were the cones chosen to become trees?  Was there something special about them?  Or did they just fall at just the right time, landing on the spot that would offer the perfect combination of light, shadow, water, soil, and room to grow?

 

Some cones thrive and grow, but even those that lie fallow and eventually decay are part of the beauty of the created landscape.  We all are special, but our real specialness comes from the fact that we were chosen by God to be created and loved.

(c) 2015 Nancy Jagmin

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