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Be still for the power of the Lord - Meditation for Wednesday of Lent I

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2: 4 -5).

Where does God’s power manifest today? I read the gospel story and see God’s power on display when Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and the man with leprosy. In Genesis, I see Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, but I know their action sets up the later story where Joseph takes charge of Egypt, being second only to Pharaoh. I accept that Joseph’s rise is possible because he has remained faithful to God, and God in return has empowered Joseph. But is such power still possible today?

I want to believe that God’s power will also prevail in northern New Jersey and beyond in 2016, but too often the wisdom of men drowns out my awareness of the Spirit at work in my life and in my community and sets limits on my expectations of what God can do. Especially in this election year the rhetoric of presidential candidates is all but overwhelming and on too many occasions barely passes as “plausible words.” Candidates’ invocations of God feel more like weapons or pandering than a promise of hope or an acknowledgement that the world needs God’s power to bring healing and hope.

Yet when I remove myself from the relentless messages of radio and television and internet, I give God’s Spirit a chance to come to me and to renew my faith. When I make the effort to quiet the voices in my own head, I can be more open to the Spirit’s teaching and can become a vessel of the Spirit’s power. Too often I forget the many times that Jesus withdraws to pray. In those times away from everyone Jesus receives power to perform his work in the world. I too should expect to find God’s power in quiet times of prayer and reflection. So this Lent I resolve to make more time to be still and let the power of God come to me and renew my faith.

These words from a hymn by David Evans will be a good starting point for my retreat and my renewal:

Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.
He comes to cleanse and heal to minister his grace.
No work too hard for Him. In faith receive from Him.
Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.

(Listen to the whole hymn here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZugvUQ4m90U)

The readings for Wednesday of Lent I are Psalm 119.49-72, Genesis 37.25-36, 1 Cor 2.1-13, Mark 1.29-45, and can be found at www.satucket.com/lectionary/2lent1.htm.
 

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