March 28, 2012

March 28: Simply enter and give thanks

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By Bill Born, vice president for student life
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.
DEVOTIONAL:

“Open to me the gates of righteousness…”
“This is the Lord’s doing…”
“This is the day that the Lord has made…”

These three phrases within Psalm 118 suggest to me that the Lord is in control. God is the gatekeeper inviting us to simply enter through the gates and give thanks, to accept the Lord’s grace and receive righteousness.

Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, defines life as two halves in his book Falling Upward. In the “the first half of life,” we tend to be preoccupied with order, control, safety, pleasure and certitude. We manage and define ourselves out of fear. Rohr goes on to note that life is about much more than building boundaries, protecting identities, creating tribes and teaching impulse control. It is in what he calls “the second half of life” that we find “the inner experience of God.” The need to differentiate ourselves, our faith or our place in society as superior is past. We no longer feel the need to have such strong opinions about everything. We find more contentment in what we share in common than in how we influence and change others.

For all the benefit of Apple’s technology, cutting edge influence and impact of change on the world, I am reminded of the story of its co-founder Steve Job’s final words. His sister Mona Simpson, shared in her eulogy after his death last fall: “Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.” I can’t help but wonder if this man of great positive innovation, imagination and influence suddenly experienced something much greater.

As we live today, may we live in the acceptance of God’s invitation and God’s grace. May we find “the inner experience of God,” putting aside fear and our need to control. And as we look to the future, may we also anticipate great things to come as we enter God’s gates of righteousness. Both today, and that day “tomorrow,” are days that the Lord will have made.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!”

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (NRSV)
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! 26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. 29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

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Comments (10)

  1. Thank you for this insight

    Peter C March 28, 2012 |
  2. This devotion touches me deeply as I seek grace in being freed of unnecessary fearfulness — and as our family prays for our mother to be released soon from her “long goodbye” of Alzheimer’s disease so that she may enter through “the gates of righteousness” into new life. Thank you, Lord, for whatever today brings. May I rejoice in, for, and throughout every blessed day!

    Bonnie March 28, 2012 |
  3. Thanks Bill for your thoughtful devotional! What Fr. Rohr has written certainly fits my experience. As an older retired person I find myself wanting to remain deeply involved in what is going on around me. However, I no longer sense the need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. This allows me to spend more time and energy reflecting on what God is doing in the world and in my own life. I can concentrate more on how to remain faithful.

    Russ Liechty

    Russ Liechty March 28, 2012 |
  4. Thank you for sharing this. Our lives are in God’s hands. His steadfast love endures forever. Oh wow!

    Dale March 28, 2012 |
  5. Beautiful. Thanks for this word for today.

    Janice March 28, 2012 |
  6. Amen brother Bill,praise is to the mighty God..
    Bless all there.
    Thanks Babe

    Babe Sheley March 28, 2012 |
  7. Some people don’t seem to get to the “second half” of life until the last year or so, others never quite get there, at least in this life. That lovely place, however, can be reached whenever we decide to let go of our addictions to being in control. Like all recovery, it starts with recognition, then surrender to a higher power.

    Mary-Alice Shemo March 28, 2012 |
  8. your words really blesses me. Thank you.

    Diana March 28, 2012 |
  9. Thanks a lot, Bill. Fr. Richard Rohr is my very dear friend. I did a retreat under his direction. Unforgettable. Yes, as he suggests, I have entered the second half and spend a lot of time with the dear Lord in contemplative repose.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 29, 2012 |
  10. Thank you. This spoke right to my heart this morning.

    ML Ewing March 29, 2012 |