The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
So the Joy Dare was about giving thanks for what was in my heart.
And one thing in my heart is my lists of fixed prayer people. And while I would love to say that they are the continual meditation of my heart, I cannot.
But when they are the meditation of my heart, it is an acceptable gift in His sight. And today I gave thanks for Seth and Karen Barnes, marveling whom they have become over the years since those steamy hot young years when we all worked in the Dominican Republic. And they visited us in the refugee camp when I Nicole had the measles which somehow slid into pneumonia and somewhere in there was the dehydration room. That was a rough spring. But certainly Seth and Karen have embraced their calling to follow him on The Grand Adventure. And it is indeed a great joy to be race around the world with them in my prayers.
And the Adams. I remember them back when they were doing their residencies. And we saw each of them more than they saw each other. And when I brought Nicole back to the States, I took her to Mary at University Medical Center cause she was pretty much a two-year-old mess. And Mary called her supervisor, who called his supervisor, all the way to the top, and he made an announcement over the loudspeaker for all residents to come see something that they would never see again…four skin diseases layered one on top of the other. And I will never forget all of those gowned bodies pressed into one small room looking at a rather shy Little Nicole. Rod over at infectious diseases always promised that if we brought him up a new and exciting giardia strain, he would name it after us. And now the Adams walked away, truly have given up house and brothers and sisters and children and property, for His sake and for the Good News; for the joy set before them, they picked up their cross and followed Him to northern Kenya where Rod teaches at the Aga Khan University Hospital and Mary coordinates community health projects for mothers and children. And I get to join them before the throne of Grace every single Wednesday morning.
And my brother and his family in New Hampshire. And the Voelkels in Vermont. And some boys whose momma asked me to add them to my list. And a student from Wildcat who asked me to pray for him. And Kevin and Elaheh. And a list of Nicole’s friends from college, as well as the brother who visited us that Christmas, And each of my students and each of the Imago Dei staff. Pause over each one, each one who is in my heart. And all of the beloved people who have joined my heart family over the years: Cameron, Fernanda and Wilson, Charly, Markus, Chaska and Tika, Kate, Ira, Ray, Carla, Marco, Mateo, Ali, Wali, Igor, Fredric, Shaun, Giovanni, John, Manuel, Daniel. And Alan. Nicole, Heather, Dustin, Andrea. May each of these be my acceptable meditation today.
And may I rest today in this place, kneeling before my Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
How can I but not be filled with mercy and peace as I kneel before God our Maker?
And may the words of mouth come from this treasure of my heart.
Unlike a flame set on fire by hell itself. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
My Strength and my Redeemer.