Pastoral Reflections Pastor Mark Keefer, Lay Pastor, Garwin United Methodist Church Garwin, Iowa
December 7, 2012
Well, it’s that wonderful time of year when we can finally get some rest and relaxation – right? The Thanksgiving leftovers have finally disappeared. No more turkey sandwiches and pot pies, and we can relax and get the house prepped for Christmas. Getting the tree up and trimmed, and gift shopping – it is all so relaxing. Yeah, what fantasy world am I living in? In reality what we all need is a little quieting not only of our daily schedules, but of our spirits as well. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how do we do it? It seems that every aspect of our lives seems to be hurry, hurry, hurry. We are in an age of immediate gratification. Cell phones make it possible for us to be in access to all things at all times. And now, if we’re lucky, we can have 4G connectivity – whatever that means. Home computers are progressively more powerful and fast. Ipads that we carry in our hands have more computer power and memory than the computers that filled the Apollo moon landing capsules. I get tired thinking of it. My soul needs rest. What’s the solution? I have recently had an old acquaintance die, and another good friend so severely injured that his hospital stay is going to last two months, followed by months, if not years, of rehabilitation. My soul is in need of solace and rest. I have been in such a hurry with all that is going on with the seasonal expectations and the concern for my friends, that I have realized that I have also hurried through my prayer time. In Luke 21:37, we are reminded that Jesus had a harried and hurried life. He was teaching during the day at the temple, and He had people following Him from sunup to sundown. How did He handle it? While I am confident that He had regular daily prayer and talk with God, Luke tells us that in the evenings Christ retreated to the Mount of Olives for rest and close and quiet time with God in prayer. What we all need to do is to make prayer a priority. It was effective for Christ. Why would it be any less effective for us? Prayer safeguards our time so we can rest in the Spirit. Prioritized time for prayer allows us time for both solitude and stillness. Psalm 46 urges, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A great hymn comforts us, “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.” Another great hymn, It Is Well With My Soul, was written by a man who had tragically lost his four daughters in a ship collision and sinking. Through the study of Psalms and other scripture, and the examples of Christ, we learn that prayer is essential to providing us calm in the midst of turmoil and pain. We are in a season of gift giving. Here’s one for you. Prayer. It will provide you with tremendous benefits in your walk of faith. And you will discover how much you need the peace of God’s presence. It is a priceless gift. Have more than a Merry Christmas. Have a Peace-filled and blessed Christmas.
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