Humans breathe and walk and talk and eat and sleep. No argument there.
However it is also a fact that every human worships because worship is a inescapable human need.
If we don’t make a conscious choice about what or who we worship then we will indiscriminately and sub-consciously grasp at something or someone to place at the centre of our lives, then live with constant frustration that this person or object fails to deliver the depth of meaning and happiness that we seek in life.
The people the Old Testament found themselves worshiping a golden calf and I fear that I am being spoken about as one of the foolish idol worshippers in the vivid image from Psalm 115
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands
They have mouths but they cannot speak;
they have eyes but they cannot see.
They have ears but they cannot hear;
they have nostrils but they cannot smell.
They have hands but they cannot feel;
they have feet but they cannot walk.
They make no sound from their throats.
heir makers will come to be like them,
as will all who trust in them.
St. Paul gives a great sermon to the people of Athens in today’s first reading. It begins “You Athenians” and is known as the Aereopagus sermon. It’s the most complete and dramatic of all Paul’s addresses. In this sermon Paul tells the people of Athens that he has noticed that they are worshipping – even at an altar inscribed “to an unknown God.”
We have no problem labelling as “primitive” people who followed ancient and now largely extinct religions, and while we appreciate the beauty of the sunrise, full moon or star constellations, the sight of these cosmic realities doesn’t cause us to fall to our knees in adoration.
We then think of ourselves and our culture as advanced and sophisticated (ie from Greek “wise person”) when we call ourselves Christian, but we are really just misguided idol-worshippers like our sun-worshipping ancestors. In fact our problem is more serious since the gods we worship are earthly, tangible, fickle and fleeting with no hint of healthy transcendence.
I have often thought that while we often struggle with most of the ten commandments, most of us think we do ok when it comes to the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods.” It is significant that Jesus repeats and emphasises this first commandment since he understands that all of our problems come from a lack of understanding of and fidelity to the first commandment. There is a good reason that the first commandment is the first commandment.
So who or what is a god for us? Anything or anyone I cannot let go of has become my God. Some examples: fears, success, family, work, ambition, money, possessions, attitudes, habits, goals, compulsions…the list is endless.
And another exercises to help discover your false gods: A glance at your diary or bank statement will indicate what is central in your life. We spend our time and money on the people and things that we often allow to replace the one true God.
As Paul reminds the Atheneans:
- Don’t spend any time now feeling guilty about all your gods. Instead, right now, make a change deciding to live every moment of the next 24 hours consciously and actively worshipping only one God, the known God, the true God, the God made known to us in Jesus Christ who is God-with-us. Then after practicing this for a few hours, become aware of any changes you notice in your life. I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised, even delighted at what you notice, even as you feel as though you are fumbling and groping for God…
- Pray to Sleep (a ten minute bedtime audio reflection) at this link.
- Today’s readings at this link.
- Send your prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each day I will add the initials of those we pray for to this list. Take a moment, perhaps 15 seconds, to pray in whatever way you choose for those whose initials appear below, and don’t hesitate to send repeat requests for prayer.
Let us pray today (Wednesday) especially for: MC, PH, JH, SH, MC, MH, MD, AF, MO, CM, SES, CO, DC (RIP at weekend) & for CC wife. TC, TL, VH, CD, XD, CP, MK,
Recovery from stroke. For my sister who is dying…her faith is unbelievable but she is in a lot of pain.For healing of his chronic stomach pain. For my daughter who is almost 40 and has been suffering from an auto immune disease for several years now…praying for the doctors finally get her meds right as this has not been happening causing all sorts of things and ultimately for healing in her body and spirit. For discernment regarding next step to take and for knee pain. Physical healing and guidance. For her return to Church and for her to be cured of her high blood pressure. For one to find and know our Lord Jesus. For one suffering from severe depression and although under a psychiatrist now, medication so far has not seen an improvement, so withdrawn, barely eating and being here is a deep struggle I think. I pray for healing, for improvement and that she may know God’s deep love and care for her. For a priest who is struggling with his ministry being questioned.
Tuesday: AS, DD, BD, WC, KJ, PG, CG, PR, SG, PB. FF, JC, BO, PM, MD,
Monday: AL, MM, SIM, TP, PB, JL, AP, MM, WP, TEP, LP, JD, MD, SL, PM, JK, SB, BW, LC, RS, EC, KN, JP, IF, TP, TP, MW, JN, SN,
Sunday: SP, PB, BH, JJ, KB, DM, GL (RIP last Tuesday) JT,
Saturday: CM, OP, GC, GS, ES, MLAH, CS, HC, DC, DU, DMC, FTM, JS, SD, MD, CM, TD. MM, ZM, LM, SD, JD, LD, AD. DC, ME,, CE, KC, LC, BC, KC, BC,
Friday: LS (RIP), AR, TT, BP, MP, PP, GTD (RIP2015), PB, LM, JK, MK, TJO, LB, DD, JRA, FL, JU, SLJ. SLJ. JJJ. MPJ, JPM, MLFJ, MD,
Thursday: SLJ, JJJ, RM, SJ, SF, SLJ, JS, FS, MD, GPD, JMC, AM & I, MS, MC, MR, JCP, MON, SS, MS, OD, ND, CD, JD, JD & KJ, EJH, ARO,
Last week: JS, FS, SF, GJG (RIP), JDG, MD, CGW, SD, TK, JK, RF, GN, OP, GC, TN, MC, KJ, SL, AN, JMT, KJ, MD, PM, MC, DP, KD, AD, BA, RF, MC, PR, JH, GPB,AD, NF, PR, GPB, BA, MA (RIP), LM, SB, MO’D, S&SW, DMcA, SS, VM, PM, NM, BB, BR, RM, IW, BL, AM, JM, SM, JH, CSL, BS, AW, MR, SR, JC, LR, JF, AB, AB, MB, CB, LJ, AF, JB, CB, SB, MB (RIP), MR, MH, SR, RS, MTM, OH, MM (RIP), SGS. MC, EH, MAC, NDM, JG, SL, JD, AJ, MLJ, SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP, GRJP, JF, IC, RF, JC, LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG, GC, AW, DM, MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP)AJ, MLJ, SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP, GRJP, JF, IC, RF, JC, LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG, GC, AW, DM, MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP), SS, BK, JKBP, CP, PP, BW, HT (RIP), SL, AW, DM, MM, PM, LH, TN, SF, SC, FM, T&TT, AR, HF, RF, JM, R&B, MC, MD,BH, SGS, JJHB, SJB, BB, MD, MB, JT, RF, SS, SS, PB, SD, JR, SQ, JL, MCSM, PR, MJ, MD, SM, PR, MJ, MD,
LECTIO DIVINA FOR WEDNESDAY OF EASTER WEEK VI (20 May 2020)
Pictures received of any churches that have been significant in your faith journey will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to email@example.com.
Today’s church: Sacred Heart Cathedral in Thorndon Wellington has two large bronze bells which ring out the Angelus every day across the capital. The bells were donated by the wife of Dr Grace, a prominent parishioner in 1903. The bells originally hung from two towers which had to be removed after the 1942 earthquake. They both now hang from a frame on the south side tower.
Wednesday Easter Week VI (15 minutes)
Wednesday Easter Week VI (25 minutes)