Earlier this year, as COVID forced Bethel online and Minnesotans sheltered in place, I spent about four weeks writing daily Lenten devotionals. Spurred by a midweek sermon from my brother-in-law, the series was meant to help me focus on spending time each day encountering God in Scripture. I called the series “The With-God Life,” the theme of the Renovaré-published Bible that I was reading at the time. But I also found that those posts helped me process the events swirling around me, to find peace and meaning in the midst of a pandemic. And perhaps it did the same for some readers.
That series has been largely dormant over the summer and early fall, but as we turn the page to October, I’m going to try to revive it.
COVID is still here, and I have my fears about what will happen as the weather grows colder and flu season begins. But this time I find myself needing to find peace and meaning in the midst of political chaos.
I don’t regret writing anything in opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy; I wrote another such post on Tuesday for The Anxious Bench. But politics is not my primary interest. And having lectured on Augustine’s City of God yesterday, I’m reminded that earthly citizenship — though a way of loving our neighbors — can also become a distraction from the Christian’s highest allegiance and deepest love.
So starting tomorrow, I’ll open my day by writing a short reflection on one passage from the daily version of the Revised Common Lectionary. To prepare, I invite you to join me in praying a prayer written by Augustine, ancient words that articulate a core desire of every Christian at every time:
O Lord my God, I believe in you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Insofar as I can, insofar as you have given me the power, I have sought you. I became weary and I labored. O Lord my God, my sole hope, help me to believe and never to cease seeking you. Grant that I may always and ardently seek out your countenance. Give me the strength to seek you, for you help me to find you and you have more and more given me the hope of finding you. Here I am before you with my firmness and my infirmity. Preserve the first and heal the second. Here I am before you with my strength and my ignorance. Where you have opened the door to me, welcome me at the entrance; where you have closed the door to me, open to my cry; enable me to remember you, to understand you, and to love you.