FOR TODAY Read the following collect from the Book of Common Prayer, found on page 236: Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
We read in this collect that it is God's will to "restore" all things through Jesus, our Lord. We know that restoration of earthly objects (houses, cars, antiques) can be very detailed and hard work. It is work that demands intention and steadfast commitment. How much more so for our hearts that can be mired by sin, by the tendency to "miss the mark" as translated in the Hebrew Scriptures? Just as the Hebrew concept for sin is "missing the mark," a parallel Hebrew idea is that we are called to be repairers and restorers of this world (tikkun olam). Part of this early Hebrew understanding is a special emphasis on acts of kindness in helping others and in making the world just again. In many ways, restoration starts with the intention of kindness and then, in relationships, takes us deeper into self-examination of the ways we have wounded ourselves or others and thus created division and injustice. True repair and restoration leads us through confession to efforts to make right what is wrong (healing) and through prayer to amendment of our actions (restoration). This journey forms the heart of revival and renewal. And, we know from the witness of the Saints that this journey is never a perfectly straight line. However, we lean on the wisdom and trust embedded in part of Thomas Merton's famous prayer: "I have no idea where I am going...and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you, does, in fact, please you."
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION If God’s will is to restore, what is your will or intention for this day? How can you be more actively attuned to God by self-examination and prayer? How might aligning your will with God’s will lead to "freedom" in your soul as our collect suggests?
RESTORE This fourth week focuses on the word restore. No one expected 2020. Our country has been driven apart by a virus, ravaged by storms and fires, divided by protests and riots, and ripped asunder by the demands of an election. All of this has affected us. Our hearts are heavy, our minds are confused, our souls are weary, and our society has been fractured. WIFI connections have disconnected us and left us in isolated pods. And yet, amid the chaos sounds our mission "to restore all people to unity with God and each other.” Our catechism goes on to ask two more questions about the mission of restoration. Find all previous daily devotionals here