Whether it’s the sight of our Kindergartener boarding the school bus for the first time, a departing friend waving goodbye, or the final moments of a death-bed conversation, the final glimpse of a loved one can embed itself in to our psyche. When a final glimpse is peaceful or positive its memory can soothe our broken heart, but when it is harsh or disjointed it can traumatize our soul.
I know people who have been haunted for years by regretful conversations and bitter last words. Indeed, our final encounters will often stain the memories that preceded them, either memorializing the good or destroying it.
Have you ever thought about Jesus’ final pose?
In Luke 24:50-51 it says: “When He had led them out of the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven.”
Isn’t that awesome?! “While He was blessing them, He left them.” The final glimpse of Jesus on earth before His return to the Father in heaven was a glimpse of blessing. His hands were extended, His face was bright with love, and His blessing was settling over His worshippers.
Regardless of the other “final glimpses” you carry, I hope this picture of Jesus stays fixed in your soul. It is not a picture of exasperation, frustration, or disappointment; it is a glimpse of confidence and everlasting love.
Amid its exhortations about faith, fasting, the Eucharist, ethical behaviors, and more, The Didache says this about prayer:
“As the Lord commanded in His Gospel so pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done as in heaven so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil: for Yours is the power, and the glory, forever.’ Three times a day pray in this fashion.”
The Lord’s Prayer…prayed three times daily.
Wow, I wonder how a morning, noon, and evening recitation of the Lord’s famous prayer might reorient and inform our world?
Let’s try it.
Let’s engage in a one-week experiment, wherein we pray this prayer morning, noon, and night, and then examine the corresponding results. If we really try it and center ourselves on the Lord’s Prayer, I suspect that our one-week test run will yield some powerful results:
- We will care more about God’s Kingdom
- We will be more submitted to His will
- We will more readily behold His provision
- Forgiveness will be our native language
- And spiritual victory will be our portion
Ultimately, I suspect that our one-week of daily prayer will turn into a praying life.
Are you in? :)
Recently, Amber and I got tied up over a misunderstanding. We were equally wrong but she apologized first (note to self: be the bigger man since I am the bigger man). The instant she apologized to me, my frustrations began to dissipate and my heart began swelling with an overwhelming amount of love for her. As I analyzed the moment and my corresponding emotions, another thought darted cross-current into my consciousness: “I wonder if this is what God feels when we repent to Him?” And then that thought was immediately followed by: “Yes, except that God’s love is connected to infinity.”
I can’t really get my head around infinity, but it sure sounds like a lot.
I kept thinking about this all throughout the day, and I remembered an obscure mythology story wherein the Norse god, Thor, was challenged by the Ogre King to drink all of the ale from his drinking horn. When Thor brought the horn to his lips, convinced that he could easily drain its contents, the Ogre King slipped the end of the horn into the ocean. Although Thor’s draught was impressive and the oceans of the world receded a little from all their beaches, no one can swallow the whole ocean, and so Thor was thus humiliated.
I know, it’s a weird story for illustrating God’s love for us. Except that it isn’t. It’s actually a great picture of how God’s love is drawn from an endless supply. Like the ocean that could not be swallowed, God’s love for you and me is of a deep, abounding, infinite level.
King David said it this way, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11).
He loves you! Not with a love that ebbs and flows, but with a commitment that is deeper than the deepest waters of the sea.
Know you are loved today!