April 20 Devotional

Opening Prayer: O God, Lover of my soul, give me the grace and the courage to take you up on your invitation to intimate, passionate union with you; it is what my heart truly longs for. Amen. 

Scripture: Psalm 149:1-5

Journal: What does the scripture today bring to life in you? How does it make you want to praise God? 

Reflection: What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment where they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Basho we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.

Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance. (New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton) 

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Vitaly and Oksana Voinov live in Moscow, Russia. Vitaly is working with the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) in Russia/CIS as IBT’s director. IBT has been serving the non-Slavic peoples of the former Soviet Union for four decades by translating the Holy Scriptures - Bibles, New Testaments, individual Bible books, and illustrated Children’s Bibles. Pray today for IBT to continue fulfilling its primary task in the constantly shifting whirlwind of Russian politics under the Lord’s protection.

Knox County CAC is a public agency serving the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. Cedar Springs is partnering with CAC Homeward Bound Emergency Transitional Housing Project (ETH). The program helps specific groups find housing: (1) Families with children that cannot find shelter space, (2) Seniors that cannot get into shelter or who are too frail for existing shelter, (3) Individuals with an already established housing plan. Pray today for the staff of CAC as they seek to find housing for these people.

Closing Prayer: O God, Lord of all, with all of creation my heart rejoices in you this day. Your Spirit and your word are like music that leads my soul to dance! And what a wonder-filled dance it is! Let me always be a good dance partner, willing and able to move to the leading of Your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you take pleasure in your people. Thanks you that you adorn us with salvation. May we be glad and rejoice, may we leap for joy and spin around. May we dance the dance of life and joy with you this day. Amen.