THIS YEAR I’m reading Matthew. I’m in our cold basement (it’s Pittsburgh, and this is the year of the much storied “polar vortex” early in the morning before the sun has even thought about coming up. The date: January 3. In today’s story the angel warns Joseph to take his family to Egypt where they will be safe from Herod who is hunting for the baby Messiah. “Get up,” the angel says, “take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13).
I have “gotten up.” Six months earlier my family lived in North Carolina, but now we live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We “got up.” I allow my mind to think about how our “getting up” differed from Joseph’s and his family’s.
My family left out of obedience to the voice of vocation, the voice of God’s Spirit that says, “This is where you need to be; this is what you need to be doing.” We made the right move, though our lives didn’t depend on it in the way it did for Joseph and his family.
But in a way, our lives did depend on it, and I can see my family in this story. The stress and imbalance of our life were crushing us. God used this move to rebalance us.
I often prayed the line from a prayer of Thomas Aquinas: “Put my life in good order, O my God.” I’ve been praying that prayer for 15 years, and I now sense that God is answering it. My family and I got up and embraced a way of life that has more space for God to reorder it, and God is doing just that.
– L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here
From pages 34-35 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 L. Roger Ownes. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Pray the prayer by Thomas Aquinas: “Put my life in good order, O my God.” Share your thoughts.
Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:5-7, NRSV
This Week: pray for someone beginning a good habit. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
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This week we remember: Simeon Stylites (January 5).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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