Leprechauns and hula hoops

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Leprechauns and hula hoops

November 18, 2011 -

Here’s news you can use: 262 people in Dublin, Ireland dressed in leprechaun costumes yesterday, setting a new world record.  On Guinness World Records Day 2011, other record attempts included the most arrows caught by hand while blindfolded, the most people whistling at one time, and the largest hula hoop workout.

I’d rather read about leprechauns than the deadlocked deficit-reduction supercommittee in Washington, protesters who tried to shut down a New York City subway, or losses in the stock market.  Peace is fleeting these days, at home and abroad.  Monk and theologian Thomas Merton was right: “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”

This week we’ve been claiming Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”  We’ve learned to trust our “mind”–our attitudes, thoughts, and worries–to God.  Today we’ll focus on submitting our decisions to his will and finding his peace.

Consider this promise: “This is what the Lord says–your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river” (Isaiah 48:17-18).

What is the pathway to God’s peace?  First, believe that he wants only your best.  “Redeemer” translates the Hebrew word for one who buys slaves and sets them free.  God has purchased our salvation and made us his children.  Now you can trust him to show you “what is best for you” and direct you “in the way you should go.”

Second, submit to that direction: “If only you had paid attention to my commands . . .”  “Paid attention” could be translated, “heed for the purpose of obedience.”  How does God reveal his will to us?  Rationally, through Scripture and logic; practically, through circumstances and people; and intuitively, as his Spirit speaks to us.

Where do you need God’s direction this morning?  Obey what you know to do.  Oswald Chambers believed that “God will never reveal more truth about himself until you have obeyed what you know already.”  Then ask his Spirit to show you what you need to know.  As you follow his leadership, your peace will be “like a river,” deep and strong.

I have long admired this prayer by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits: “Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.”  Amen.

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