I was walking several miles every day until I caught a cold and felt miserable. After a week of the cold and a few more days of recovery, I started walking again. My legs hurt and my breath was rapid; I’d lost the strength I needed for a long walk. A few weeks of gradually increasing my distance, however, put me back to where I was before the cold. Resilience!

Those who study our nervous system have found that nerve cells all over our bodies work just like muscles: Use them and they get stronger; do not use them and they deteriorate. And our nerve cells and pathways are resilient just like our muscles.

Awareness and trust in God’s unconditional grace and love require mental and emotional focus as well as constant practice. The world constantly pulls our attention away from faith in God. We worry about our safety; we care about being liked and accepted; we are concerned for our physical and financial health. However, these human concerns pull our attention away from faith in God’s love.

Practicing awareness and trust in God’s love is what spiritual disciplines are about. Just as our muscles require physical exercise, our faith requires daily practice of concentrated awareness of God’s abiding love. With the discipline our faith requires, we can even send God’s love to people and places all over the world. Awareness of God’s presence and prayers of lovingkindness exercise the nerve pathways in our minds that can move our attention from all our worries and concerns to God’s presence.

This part of the letter to Timothy is about the “treasure entrusted to you,” the gift of full awareness of and faith in God’s love for us just as we are. We guard and nurture this treasure with daily practice of remembering and sharing it.

Dear God, thank you for your amazing love. May we intentionally remember your love every day and share it with everyone we encounter. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 17:5-10

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Lectionary Week
September 30—October 6, 2019
Scripture Overview

Lamentations opens with a description of the plight of the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The people have been taken into exile as part of God’s judgment for their idolatry. The psalmist struggles to sing the songs of the Lord. In fact, those who overthrew Jerusalem have forced them to sing for their amusement, so the joy is gone. The psalmist prays that one day God will repay the invaders. In Second Timothy Paul praises God for Timothy’s faith and for the legacy of faith that comes through his family. He charges him to preach boldly and without hesitation the gospel of Christ. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges the disciples to show greater faith and to understand that we are all servants in God’s kingdom.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Lamentations 1:1-6. How do you allow your imperfections and failings to transform you?
Read Psalm 137. How do you remember your spiritual traditions and sacred places without clinging to them in the rapid changes of our world? How do you look for God’s work in change?
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14. What spiritual practices help you to “guard the good treasure entrusted to you”?
Read Luke 17:5-10. How might a posture of cyclical servanthood to and with all creation transform or increase your faith?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.