For the past 25 years or so, I have typically entered each day using a Lutheran prayer book entitled “For All the Saints”. It is in 4 volumes (Year 1 and Year 2) following the church calendar. It has been a huge help to me to get started each day, which consists with 3 readings from the Scriptures, 2 prayers and a reading from church history, or of the many in the communion of the saints, most of whom have gone on before us. But at minimum, this is a soul orienting excercise and discipline, and I genuinely need all the help and orientation I can receive in this challenging and mystical relationship we call prayer.
However, this month I’d like to share a reading that I came across this week from a man that I have never heard of before, although having gone through these volumes for 25 years, I must have read this at least a few times previously. I simply do not either remember or was not terribly impressed with it. You may not be either. BUT….now being presently impressed, here it is. It’s written by F. Eppling Reinartz, taken from a radio sermon delivered on April 14, 1948, 5 months before I was born. It bears this title:
“If I Only Knew”.
Late one evening last spring I stood on a traffic island at the south entrance of the Union Station in Washington, D.C. Scores of us were there waiting for taxi cabs. Crowded near me were two young men. Their animated and troubled conversation revealed that one of them had soon to make a significant decision. Over and over again he said "Oh, if I only knew how to make up my mind." He was paralyzed at one of life's crossroads. Now there are many practical advantages in being a Christian. One of the most thank-worthy is that our religion helps us make important decisions. Christians don't find it easier to reach vital decisions than do others. Oh no! But our religion does give us insight and guidance which help us when, lacking them, we would find our thinking at a dead end. For example, a Christian is humble in the presence of decision. He doesnt take himself too seriously. He knows that a yes or no from him will not change the order of the universe. So long as his heart is fixed on obedience to God, he knows that his wrong choices will be overruled by an all wise and just Providence. And what of right choices? No use boasting about them. They are God's gift. This humility also makes Christian believers teachable. They freely seek the guidance of God through yielding prayer. That clears the track for a train of thought making limited stops. This tractible something in a godly person causes him to ask for counsel of trustworthy friends. Merely to make the honest statement of pros and cons of a decision in the presence of one who accepts Christian standards of value is often to reach fixed and firm resolves at once. God does not demand that our choice of roads be made only from the signposts seen at a given intersection. He goes far beyond that . He supplies us with a reliable sense of spiritual direction. The fixed intentions of Jesus Christ control the path his followers elect. He reminds us of mountain peaks and stars by which he has taught us to guide. He encourages us to look back over our years to see among them the past providences which clarify present choices. I cherish the memory of a friend of mine who insisted that the Spirit of God does his most helpful work with our minds when we are asleep. He maintained that when our concious mind surrenders control, then the Mind of God can go to work on all the snarled and fouled lines of our thought and feeling and lay them clear. Said he, "When a Christian facing a decision, says, "I'll sleep on it", he means "I'll surrender this all quietly to God through the night"----You may be sure that whether that surrender is made while waking or sleeping, it gets results. "Rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for him and he will give you to know your heart's desie"
I encourage all who are able to attend the ARC regional conference in Mansfield on October 22. It sounds great plus you’ll be able to hear Tom Kelby, the soon coming presidet of the ARC. Wish I could be there but I am otherwise serving my wife as she launches an art fair and the beginnings of a new art group in Minnesota related to The Dandelion Seed Company. Nothing written yet in stone but Sue is full of faith and hope for this new direction.
Great peace and blessing to all of you