"Support us, O Lord, all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Portions of this Funeral Prayer, from the Book of Common Prayer accompany our God Pause reflections for this week)
The fever of life is over...
I once read a sign that said, "Being a humanist means doing good in the world without any expectation of reward in the afterlife." I agree, but I think we could also say, being a child of God through our baptismal calling means doing well in the world without any expectation of reward in the afterlife. God doesn't need our good works, but our neighbor does! So then through our baptism, we are both free heirs of God, and enslaved to all. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more amid the frantic pace of this world, or to make God love us less when the fever of life is over and we dwell in the hushed peace of the next. All is finished. All is complete. Our call is to live and love into this radical freedom we have been given!
Let us pray,
You have called us by name, gathered us into one body, and sent us forth into the world, burning with justice, peace, and love. Help us as we serve not as we ought, but as we are able, so that our hands may be your hands, broken though they may be, and our feet may be your feet, pierced and yet walking with all people. We ask through the pierced one, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, Amen.
Luke 17:5-10 (NRSV)
5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
7 "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, "Come here at once and take your place at the table'?
8 Would you not rather say to him, "Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'?
9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?
10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, "We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"