Monday, August 1, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night

People mean well, I think, and usually try to do their best. Sometimes, though, I just have to laugh.

Even during a devotional reading.

Let me explain.

Each morning for nearly a year now, I have been reading The Upper Room, a daily devotional guide published every other month by the United Methodist Church. It is printed in nearly 40 languages and reaches into more than 100 countries.

The format is simple and never varies. Each page has a title at the top, a Scripture reference, the devotional itself, and a prayer focus at the bottom of the page. For example, on July 6th the title was “Entangled in Sin” and the bottom of the page read:

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO ARE ENTANGLED IN SIN

On July 7th, when the title was “Keeper of Crayons,” the devotional reading began “My young son has autism, and one of the activities that soothes him is coloring...” and the bottom of the page read:

Prayer Focus: CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND THEIR PARENTS

So far, so good. As I said, it is a simple format, but effective.

But then I came to the reading for yesterday, July 31st, which I am going to reproduce in its entirety for you. Readers of this blog may think of Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford when they see the title. But that is not what made me laugh.

Read on, please.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

Read Luke 8:22-25

[Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. --Romans 8:39 (NRSV)

My daughter cried out in the night, afraid of the storm. Thunder boomed and lightning flashed. She said she was afraid that the wind might sweep her away in the darkness. I tried to comfort her as the windows rattled and the wind howled against the house.

That night, I could understand what the disciples felt as a storm came upon them on the Sea of Galilee and their boat was tossed by the waves. (See Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-35.) Now, as then, only Jesus Christ can give us peace in the midst of a storm. Calling on his name and remembering the assurances in scripture give us courage in the midst of all adversity.

As I told my daughter, “The best thing about storms is that they always pass.” And each of us can always pray, as my daughter and I did that night.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for simple prayers and for the peace you give when we are afraid of the storm. We pray as Jesus taught us, saying, “Our Father, [here was printed the Lord’s Prayer].” Amen.

Then I saw it, at the bottom of the page. The Prayer Focus. If it doesn’t make you laugh, or at least scratch your head and say “Whaat???” for a second before thinking, “Oh, I get it,” you just aren’t wired correctly:

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WORKING IN THE FISHING INDUSTRY

1 comment:

Rosezilla said...

Yeah, that was a bit unexpected, lol! I was thinking of yet another angle, since I taught my little ones at church about Jonah on Sunday.