I ask for graciousness. As the days continue to be full, as stress continues to be high, as diverse leaders manage different levels of tension and anxiety, may we be generous with each other. May we be patient, compassionate, gentle, and empathetic. May we abstain from anger, self-importance, compulsive behaviour, and discouragement. May we know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly.
Romans 9 1-5
9I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people,* my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah,* who is over all, God blessed for ever.* Amen.
1) "...the truth in Christ;" "...I have great sorrow;" "...unceasing anguish in my heart;" "...for the sake of my own people;" "...my kindred according to the flesh;" "...unceasing anguish in my heart;"
2) There is a "but" coming, the reason for Paul's anguish. I appreciate the sense of "unceasing anguish in my heart." I think I'm there. As I encounter my own shadow again and again, it's "unceasing anguish in my heart," that wells up. Awareness that there is nothing I can do to will my shadow away... or the shadow of my community/country/species/planet. And the more I ignore/deny/resist my shadow, the more authority it has. The more I try to suppress or avoid my shadow behaviour, the more it asserts itself in the very way I would stop it. The only thing that reduces the power of shadow is to acknowledge it, stay aware of it, and offer it, humbly, to God. "The adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;" make no difference except to perhaps raise my awareness. Only humble submission and grace rob shadow of its power. God help us all.
3) To acknowledge the "unceasing anguish in my heart," and just let it be. To hold that anguish up in humble supplication, again and again and again.
"Holy One, may your grace prove always to be greater than our anguish."
Breathprayer: "My conscience... anguish in my heart."