April 17,2020

Daily Devotions

Meditation, Prayers, and Assorted Stuff for April 17, 2020

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, “Growing Into Our True Freedom”

True freedom is the freedom of the children of God. To reach that freedom requires a lifelong discipline since so much in our world militates against it. The political, economic social and even religious powers surrounding us all want to keep us in bondage so that we will obey their commands and be dependent on their rewards.

But the spiritual truth that leads to freedom is the truth that we belong not to the world but to God, whose beloved children we are. By living lives in which we keep returning to that truth in word and deed, we will gradually grow into our true freedom.

Jen Pollock Michel published “Twenty More Prayers to Pray as We Approach the Pandemic’s Peak” in Christianity Today earlier this week. I shared the first ten yesterday; here are the rest.

  1. For Asian Americans in the United States, Africans in China, and other people all over the world subjected to COVID-related racism: God, confront this evil with your swift justice, and deliver our brothers and sisters from cruelty.
  2. For everyone anxious about the economic future—how they’ll pay for housing, food, and essential medicines: God, connect them to sources of help through the church, the government, and the community. Enable them to look toward you for provision.
  3. For small churches without cash reserves: God, keep their doors open, and urge your people to give generously.
  4. For educators, forced to adapt curricula to online learning, and for students, forced to exercise more autonomy: God, make homes a place of curiosity, inquiry, and study. Give special help to children without regular access to the internet and other digital tools.
  5. For those disappointed by the cancellation of milestone celebrations like graduations, weddings, or baby showers: God, comfort them in their disappointments, and make it possible for them to gather again with friends and family.
  6. For expectant mothers, who face the prospect of labor and delivery without the support team they’d planned for: God, deliver them from fear, and fill them with joy as they witness new life.
  7. For women facing unexpected pregnancy in this time of economic crisis: God, help them to find the practical and emotional support they need to keep them from seeking abortions.
  8. For churches, parachurch ministries, and other Christian organizations doing online evangelism and discipleship: God, bless our imperfect digital efforts and continue to advance the kingdom of Jesus through your people.
  9. For those dying alone in hospitals and for their loved ones: God, draw near to them and, by your mercy, let them encounter Christ, the friend who never leaves and never forsakes.
  10. For those involved with politics at every level: God, help our leaders to work collaboratively and communicate efficiently, setting aside self-interest for the common good.

Back to the world of Bizzaro and its creator, Dan Piraro

Today’s links! 

Have a budding engineer or scientist getting bored with quarantine? You can download forty-four different science challenges from the James Dyson Foundation here, or go to the main challenge webpage here for more activities.

 Calling itself “a site for celebrating art from all over the world, showcasing amazing talent, and coming together as a community at a time when we need it more than ever,” The Social Distancing Festival features performances from the visual arts, dance, music, as well as theater, musical theater, and opera.

 From your photography/history geek pastor, here’s a link to colorized historical photos as well as a peek at the awesome finalists in the 2020 Nikon Surf Photo of the Year contest.

 Do a little armchair travelling with these links, the first to wildlife webcams around the world, the second bookmarking sound archives with recordings from a variety of cities and settings.

 Finally, watch Donald O’Connor tap dance on roller skates to the song, “Life Has Its Funny Ups and Downs” as sung by Noreen Corcoran. Amazing!

Stay safe and stay well!