Forest Lake Talks

6/20/21 Devotional from Ed

June 20, 2021

Text: Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God."
Devotional: Author Parker Palmer writes the following:
"I once heard Alan Watts observe that a Chinese child will ask, "How does a baby grow?" But an American child will ask, "How do you make a baby?" From an early age, we absorb our culture's arrogant conviction that we manufacture everything, reducing the world to mere 'raw material' that lacks all value until we impose our designs and labor on it.
If we accept the notion that our lives are dependent on an inexorable cycle of seasons, on a play of powers that we can conspire with but never control, we run headlong into a culture that insists, against all evidence, that we can make whatever kind of life we want, whenever we want it. Deeper still, we run headlong into our own egos, which want desperately to believe that we are always in charge.
We need to challenge and reform these distortions of culture and ego - reform them toward ways of thinking and doing and being that are rooted in respect for the living ecology of life. Unlike "raw material" on which we make all the demands, this ecology makes demands on us even as it sustains our lives. We are here not only to transform the world but also to be transformed."
I wrestle with this last line each day, and if I'm honest with myself, it's probably multiple times daily. When I walk into a hospital room with a dying child of God, am I always open to being uncomfortable? To hear about their unfulfilled plans, their worries over their family, their grief over their diagnosis, their lack of faith? Or, am I simply there to check a box, a box that exists in a computer system that will enable an administrator to know the patient had been visited for "spiritual care," a box that doesn't confront me with a humbling, confrontational question: Who is this visit truly about?
Palmer is arguing that transformation could be both an input and an output, and I am guessing he believes the former is easier. I picked Psalm 46 as a reminder to me of my limitations of being born a human baby, but I wish I could always accept them!
Prayer: Dear God, Fill us with your Spirit this day and beyond. Open our hearts to continue to be transformed. Keep working in us, O Lord, and remind us of our limitations! However, despite our limitations, may each of us be assured of your presence in this world. In Christ's name we pray this, Amen.
Work cited: Palmer, Parker. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000), 97.

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