“We lose ourselves in striving to become people we imagine to be the right kind of people, pleasing to God, rather than simply being who we are. We strive after what might not be ours to do rather than submitting humbly to God’s tasks each day, as hidden and small as they might be. Jesus seeks to show us the way to a life that is not about striving but is easier, lighter, more joyful and free” (Kayla McClurg, Season and Scripture: Epiphany Year A, Matthew).
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“Courage can be awakened only when we experience our dilemma as rooted neither in others nor ourselves, but in the fabric of existence itself. This is why faith is the only adequate courage—it enables us to resist self-deception and live in the full face of life as tragic. Christian courage is the treasure always contained in earthen vessels . . . . Faith is the courage to act as if we were not cosmically alone. But such courage is not of our own making, not some grim, lip-biting obstinacy. Rather, it is rooted in a trusting heart, a heart confident that in Christ, God so enters the struggle of life with death that the ongoing Divine/human crucifixion can be lived under the hope of resurrection.
Christian courage is the heart of faith experienced as trust. Courage and encourage are related words, a fact revealed when my daughter, frightened to take her first dive called out, “Courage me, Daddy.” I made the only response she needed: “It’s okay, I’m here with you” (W. Paul Jones in Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, Vol. XII, No. 3 (May/June 1997).
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Jesus risked reputation and dignity in order to love—risked loving even a sinner. O God who risks everything to love, show us compassion that does not count the cost, and teach us to share it without hesitation” (Thomas Hoffman in A Child in Winter).
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“Ultimate worship takes place when we, like children, find ourselves climbing into the lap of our heavenly Father with the desire just to be with him. At that moment there is no agenda other than to sit in his presence, to love him, to whisper in his ear our gratitude, to feel his face, to hear his heart, to rest in his embrace, to enjoy the moment, and to understand more fully the God who yearns to enjoy us” (George Skramstad, in Finding the Heart of Worship in the Renovare Weekly Digest for Feb. 10.)