Thanksgiving Day Devotional

Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer: I feel your love as you hold me to your sacred heart, my beloved Jesus, my God, my Master, but I feel, too, the need I have of your tenderness, and your caress because of my infinite weakness. - Charles de Foucauld

Scripture Reading for the Day: Song of Solomon 7:10-12

Reading for Reflection: Lady Julian of Norwich was given a series of revelations into the sufferings of Christ and the glory of the gospel. She was taken into the heart of God and upon her return she concluded quite simply, “We are his lovers.” The bridal imagery often fails to capture a man’s heart, but consider: God is neither man nor female. Both genders together are needed to reflect his image and he transcends them both. The question every woman is asking goes something like, “Am I lovely? Do you want me?” The question every man is asking is, “Do I have what it takes? Am I adequate?” As men and women, we want to be chosen for different reasons, but we both want to be chosen, to be welcomed into the heart of things, invited into the Drama to live from our heart. We both want love, the adventure of intimacy, and this is what God’s pursuit means for men and for women.

O Living Flame of Love…
How Gently and how lovingly
Thou wakest in my bosom,
Where alone thou secretly dwellest;
And in Thy sweet breathing
Full of grace and glory,
How tenderly Thou fillest me with Thy love.

These words, penned by St. John of the Cross in his book, Living Flame of Love, capture the heart-cry of every soul for intimacy with God. For this we were created and for this we were rescued from sin and death. In Ephesians, Paul lets us in on a little secret: We’ve been more than noticed. God has pursued us from farther than space and longer ago than time. Our romance is far more ancient than the story of Helen of Troy. God has had us in mind since before the Foundations of the World. He loved us before the beginning of time, has come for us, and now calls us to journey toward him, with him, for the consummation of our love.

Who am I really? The answer to that question is found in the answer to another: What is God’s heart toward me, or, how do I affect him? If God is the Pursuer, the Ageless Romancer, the Lover, then there has to be a Beloved, one who is Pursued. This is our role in the story.

In the end, all we’ve ever really wanted is to be loved. “Love comes from God,” writes St. John. We don’t have to get God to love us by doing something right - even loving him. “This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Someone has noticed, someone has taken initiative. There is nothing we need to do to keep it up, because his love for us is not based on what we’ve done, but on who we are: His beloved. “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me” - Song 7:10. (The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

A. and B. are serving in a Creative Access country. Their family is building friendships and seeing them mature as A. continues to teach at a local university and serve the teachers and students there. Pray today for the new initiatives and partnerships that are being launched to be love-centered rather than drift toward performance and self-effort.

The Cross Greek Christian Ministry is unique to the University of Tennessee and focuses on the fraternity and sorority community. The ministry is student led, but guided by a staff. Pray today for the students that lead this ministry as they wrap up the Fall semester.

Closing Prayer:
O Living Flame of Love…
How Gently and how lovingly
Thou wakest in my bosom,
Where alone thou secretly dwellest;
And in Thy sweet breathing
Full of grace and glory,
How tenderly Thou fillest me with Thy love.