The One Who Births Life into the Darkness
SUNDAY, June 4
Genesis begins with deep, dark water splashing around an empty formless void. The void is commonly interpreted as chaos, fear, and disorder. I wonder if we can resonate with those words. Do our lives, our world, seem chaotic? Fearful? Disordered? In today’s text, in the midst of the chaotic and dark void, the Spirit of God is present, hovering over it all. I’ll say it again: the Spirit of God is there in the darkness.
“Hovering” is used again in Deuteronomy 32. A mother eagle is hovering, watching over her young (v. 11). As her young one falls from the nest, fearfully and helplessly descending downward, the mother swoops in, spreads her wings to catch her child, and carries them aloft.
This is truth for us today: the Spirit of God hovers over our darkness, finds us in the wastelands, and catches us on her wings. Our creation hope is this: there is One who births life into the darkness.
Breath prayer from Psalm 23: Inhale: You are with us. Exhale: Even in the darkness. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: COURAGE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST INJUSTICE
Care for Creation
MONDAY, June 5
When we lived in Washington State, we would often pack the kids up and head to Mount Rainier. Our go-to spot on this active volcano was a place called Paradise. The name fit the scenery perfectly: wildflower meadows for days, glacier ice fields reflecting the sun, the Tatoosh Mountain range piercing the southern sky, a diversity of hemlock and fir trees, waterfalls and creeks, a deep breath of crisp, clean air, animals and creepy crawlers aplenty. And I think to myself, What a wonderful world!
What I love so much about the creation story is that it speaks of a God who loves and cares for creation. We see this in the refrain God spoke over creation, “And God saw that it was good.” God also blessed the creation: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth” (v. 22, NIV). Let us honor God’s blessing of the created world through our love and care for creation.
Breath prayer from Psalm 65:9: Inhale: Creation cares for us. Exhale: Let us care for creation. AMEN.
TUESDAY, June 6
I love art. It was my favorite subject in school and remains a passion of mine today. I love the creative process of taking an idea and drawing it on paper, shaping something from a clump of clay, or writing lyrics to a melody. When you participate in this type of creation, you are putting a part of yourself into your work. When I finish a piece of art, I often place it on the other side of the room, nod my head a few times, and smile. I love the imagery of God as a creative artist, molding, shaping, refining, singing over creation. “Let us make humans in our Image” (v. 26, NRSV). Humanity was created in the image of God. A part of God is woven into us. And did you hear what God said about humanity? It was very good! We are God’s masterpiece, the work of God’s hands (Ephesians 2). God doesn’t make junk. So don’t treat yourself or others like junk. Honor yourself and others for what we truly are: a masterpiece!
Breath prayer from Ephesians 2: Inhale: We are the work of God’s hands. Exhale: God doesn’t make junk. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: STAFF OF COVENANT CAMPS
WEDNESDAY, June 7
During my college years, my dad told me a profound truth. He said in his wise, discerning, dad voice, “Peter, on the day you die you will still have something on your to-do list.” It’s true—there’s always going to be something in our inbox, some chore to do, a next level, or some progress to make. If you are like me, perhaps you have struggled with exhaustion and spreading yourself too thin. It’s easy to listen to that inner voice that pushes us endlessly forward. An over-programmed life with no margin is not a part of God’s rhythm in creation. “On the seventh day God rested from all his work” (v. 2, NIV). God rested. God took a break. God stopped working. God enjoyed life. Enjoyed creation. Enjoyed a day off. I want to challenge you today to do just that. Rest today. Rest is an act of faith. It is a way of saying, “God, we have done what we can do, and now we are releasing the rest to you.” Rest…today.
Breath prayer from Matthew 11:28: Inhale: To find rest for our souls. Exhale: We come to you today. AMEN.
THURSDAY, June 8
I love sci-fi movies. They ask us to wrestle with questions about human progress and care for the earth, what’s next, and testing our human limits and boundaries. Is it possible to live on other planets? Usually these movies transport us to a different galaxy or another dimension. And then there is always that classic shot as the spaceship is heading to Mars: the camera turns back and focuses on Earth. At that moment it hits us: In the grand scheme of this amazing universe, we are smaller than ants. In this seemingly insignificant existence, Psalm 8 reveals something significant. “When I look up at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are humans that you are mindful of them?” (v. 3, NRSV). God, you have us on your mind? In the midst of this grand universe, you are thinking about us? You care about us? Be encouraged. You are cared for, loved, not forgotten, you are on someone’s mind. Who me? Yes you. God loves you!
Breath prayer from Psalm 8: Inhale: God loves us. Exhale: This is a big, wonderful world. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: AN OPENNESS TO CURIOSITY
Even Those with Doubt
FRIDAY, June 9
I had a season of doubt in college. My faith was like a Lego house, and life came in like a sledgehammer, smashing my faith to pieces. As I gathered my faith back together, I didn’t know what to believe anymore. I was filled with more questions than answers. Doubt has a power that can keep us isolated. It can make you feel alone. It can make you feel excluded and out of the group. Matthew 28 challenges these thoughts and feelings. Jesus commissioned all of the disciples who were present that day on the mountain. Look at the detail in the text. When the resurrected Christ Jesus appeared to the disciples, “they worshiped him; but some doubted” (v. 17). Jesus then commissions them all—even the ones with doubts. Your doubts, the challenges in your life and your mind, don’t exclude you from Christ’s commission and call. They put you right there on the mountain next to the other disciples. And as we stand there together, we hear Jesus’s word: “Go.”
Breath prayer from Matthew 28: Inhale: There’s a place for us. Exhale: With all of our doubts. AMEN.
We Are Better Together
SATURDAY, June 10
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
In college I was on the North Park ultimate Frisbee team. Actually, “team” doesn’t capture the true essence of that community. We were more like a family. We lived, breathed, and ate ultimate Frisbee. But it wasn’t always easy. Being so close meant we had dirty laundry to deal with. There were arguments on and off the field. And we needed to figure out how to get it together because that’s what a team/family does.
Faith is about community. Faith cannot be individual. Do you remember the “one another” exhortations? Faith isn’t about me, it’s about we, the body of Christ. Families are messy. But there is something different about the family of God. The love, grace, and humility of Jesus calls us to strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, and live in peace. What’s important in moving forward is not what needs to change in someone else, but to ask what needs to change within me.
Breath prayer from 2 Corinthians 13: Inhale: With the grace of God. Exhale: One day at a time. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: MIGRANT WORKERS