Bright Morning Star
Revelation 22:16-17 (NKJV)
Matthew 22:36-49 (NKJV)
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)
The Beginning, Part 4
American religion and spirituality has interesting roots.
Initially, many came to the new land to escape religious corruption in Europe. For example, the Puritans were looking for a fresh start. “To the Puritans, the new land was not just a place where they could freely exercise their religion. It was literally the New Israel, the Promised Land on which the faithful could build a holy commonwealth unencumbered by Old World corruption.” (Religion and Political in America:Faith, Culture, and Strategic Choices, by Robert Booth Fowler, Allen D. Hertzke, Laura R. Olson, and Kevin R. Den Dulk, p. 2, West View Press, 2014)
Soon though, others came seeking religious freedom as well. Liberals and Conservatives of a different flavor followed. “In a major study of religious growth and decline from the revolutionary era to today, Roger Finley and Rodney Stark contend that there is a consistent pattern in which disestablishment, religious freedom, and the frontier have produced a “religious marketplace.” (Ibid, page 10). As a people of faith, we came to America with very different faith backgrounds, but even 200 years ago we also shared common elements.
Fast forward. In comes the late 20th Century and Early 21st Century.
Because of the promise of freedom of religion, America has a plethora of religions and types of spirituality. But, we absolutely have to remember our pioneer roots. We are cowboys. America was build on the back of hard working people.
We are DO-ers.
Today, religion is definitely one area where we do well to focus on what we have in common. It’s also helpful for us to remember that throughout the globe others do not have the same freedoms we have. We need to be grateful that we can choose to believe and worship freely.
Religion and Spirituality have not gone untouched by our propensity to DO religion. The problem with a heavy dose of DO-ing and not much BE-ing is that we run the cultural risk of losing sight of who we are IN God.
We can be so busy DO-ing that we forget the greatest commandment found in Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Loving God and others is what we are called to...
That may at times involve Do-ing, but most of the time we need to BE in God first and foremost.
So, how is that best accomplished?
According to Revelation 22:16 we read, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
We look to Jesus God who is the Bright Morning Star.
That begins by settling or quieting your mind of the clutter. Sit comfortably and think (or repeat the name) of Jesus. One thought of Jesus/God opens the door. Since God doesn’t force Himself on us we need to give permission.
Feel your body relax in God.
Gently clear away anything that comes into your mind that would distract you from God. Just let those thoughts fly away. If repeating the name of Jesus helps you to stay focused, you can do that.
For this Spiritual Exercise (Practice), see Jesus as a Bright Star.
In Revelation 22:17 we read, “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Hear Jesus calling you.
Repeat the scripture from Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest.”
Repeat it as many times as you need to feel God’s REST come on you.
Drink the water that Jesus brings you. It is living water.
At some point I often talk to Jesus and tell Him what’s been troubling me. When I feel at peace again, I resume the exercise to receive God’s living water.
You decide when to end the exercise.
When you are finished, thank God for what you received.
In God, Deborah