The greatest gift in our life of faith is that God lives in each of us. Quiet prayer is a chance to reconnect with our best self and the God who made us.
As you enter into prayer, know that the peace of God is available to all who seek it. In fact, it is already in your heart. Try to claim it now.
And remember that tomorrow is another day.next >
The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”
He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He replied, “Collect no more than you are authorized to collect.”
Soldiers asked, “What about us? What should we do?”
He answered, “Don’t cheat or harass anyone, and be satisfied with your pay.”
Luke 3:10-14next >
Part of what has inspired generations of Christians about St. Francis is his commitment to simplicity. It’s also a big part of the appeal of the pope who borrowed his name. Both of these Francises understand that the way of the Spirit is quite straightforward.
“Love God and love your neighbor” gets to the core of it, as Jesus reminded us. “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly” (Micah 6:8) is another inspiring summary.
Today’s words from Scripture add some details but not any new ideas. John the Baptist’s directions sound almost obvious: share what you have and don’t take advantage of others.
And yet we’re right to assume that following this advice was difficult for the people John taught. It’s a safe guess, because we know these teachings are difficult for us. We need these constant reminders to put others before ourselves.
In the Christian life, the what is rarely complicated. It’s the how of our decisions that get messy. In those moments, the simplicity of the Gospel can be a guiding light.
Kyle Olivernext >
Spirit of Truth, guide me as I try to walk in your ways. Show me the path of loving service, and teach me to walk it humbly with you. Amen.next >
Spirit of Peace, you dwell in my heart.
Spirit of Love, you make me whole.
Spirit of Joy, you teach me to serve.
Kyle Matthew Oliver (@kmoliver) is an Episcopal priest who believes in the power of digital media to help people engage their faith. He serves as digital missioner for the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary and lives with his wife in New York City. He enjoys doing yoga, making things, and listening to podcasts.
Advent Reflections: O Come, O Come Emmanuel