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‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple

Today’s Reflection

[SAINT] FRANCIS discovered that simplicity of life is the key to God’s realm. Downwardly mobile, he chose to focus on serving God in every encounter and responding to the deep needs of everyone he met. His focus changed from self-interest to world loyalty….

Eight hundred years after Francis, most of us question how to live simply and yet be part of the economies in which we live. While I don’t live extravagantly, this morning I checked my bank account; paid my mortgage, utility bills, and life insurance; and inquired about refinancing my home. I regularly check my retirement statements, and I live in a comfortable Cape Cod home. While my wife and I limit our use of fossil fuels, use sustainable bags at the market, and turn off the lights whenever we leave a room, we still consume more resources than most of our planet’s citizens.

Simplicity is a spiritual and ethical issue. The wisdom of the hedgehog in daily life is to know one thing and have one focus in the many tasks of each day. My sense of simplicity involves following Mother Teresa’s counsel to “do something beautiful for God.” Still, I need to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to “live simply so that others may simply live.” I need to see my possessions and personal economics in light of the well-being of others. This economy of grace will enable others to live more fully as well as to be a first step toward an ecologically affirming and economically just civilization.

—Bruce G. Epperly, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-Filled World (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

In what ways can you live more simply?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
—1 Timothy 6:8-10 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller September 11, 2019, 6:26 am

    There are more items I need to get rid of.

    Thankful for a good visit with my new primary care physician. Meds renewed, my cholesterol is good, oral concerns being taken care of, will have my eyes checked, have the second shingles shot, heart doing well, and will soon be at a gym. I go back in February for a Medicare wellness exam.

    Remember 9/11. Was in NJ at the time and could see the Twin Trade Towers both from school and home.

    Thankful Meesook’s surgery went well, she’s home, had three discs in her spine replaced. Awaiting results of Doris’s brain scan and news of Anneliese’s
    PM treatment. TomE is recovering very well from gall bladder surgery, Howard is recovering from broken/cracked ribs, Chris has a defibrilator implant tomorrow.

    Prayers for Marcy, Rusty and K, Julie, Connie, Andrea and Lowell, Edy’s Bill, and all with health concerns. Prayers for Julie’s safety Lou’s empty nest, Megan’s job search, Larry’s recovery from loss, and Jill’s school.

    Thank You, Lord for the blessings of the day.

  • Lou September 11, 2019, 6:27 am

    I try to live rather simply- especially since downsizing to my little house- I am trying to do simple household tasks to maintain my home- they often turn into bigger projects than I would like making me feel like nothing is simple. But I know the tasks have to be done to maintain the home. Right now the list is long and I’m trying to do as much as I can before winter but I am not extravagant in what I do I don’t believe. I live in an area where the urge is to measure up materialistically – but I’ve learned that all of the earthly treasures can be gone in a moment and it is God and family that only matter in the beginning the middle and the end.
    So glad to hear from Connie- I pray that your stress will abate and that God’s peace will envelope you comfort you.
    Prayers for all of the UR today and everyday – you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 11, 2019, 6:36 am

    Yes, I live a simple life. I realize the less you have, the more you can give to others.

    Blessings!

    May all be well and live simply!

  • Julie September 11, 2019, 8:19 am

    I am trying to live more simply and have been conscious of the Bible reminding us that nothing we have now can be with us in heaven.
    Today of all days may I embody the words of the Prayer of the Week. Flight 93 crashed not far from here in Shanksville which is only about an hour from Pittsburgh. My condolences, Robert, that you had to witness the horror in person. May we do a kindness for others and pray for those who lost a loved one in the tragedies of that day. I give thanks for the first responders who put their lives on the line, literally, to help others. I pray for the brave men and women who are fighting, still, for our safety. I pray for God’s peace to abide in this world.
    Prayers for all the UR family and your loved ones and all our memories of that day.
    Love and peace – may these reign in all hearts…Amen

  • Bj September 11, 2019, 9:57 am

    May prayers be continued to the UR family and their family and friends. Pray for those mourning the loss of a loved one. Blessings on this 9/11 day to all!

    • Andrea September 11, 2019, 10:53 am

      Simple living is a value I try to keep in mind, especially as I get older. Sill, stuff seems to find its way into the house, mostly books. Recycling and donating stuff is a way to simplify.

      I have finally slowed down somewhat since a hectic period of time, another way to simplify. Reading the reflections and all of your comments, I’ve touched base with UR friends most days and my prayers are with you. I am thankful for this holy online space. Prayers for all, and wishing all a blessed day.

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