Habits of Grace – May 12 2020

Habits of Grace, May 12, 2020: An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry
[May 12, 2020] As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted on Tuesdays through May. These meditations can be watched at any time by clicking here.

May 12, 2020: Our time is in God’s hands

Watch the Video
Hello to everyone who is kind enough to watch and listen to Habits of Grace. I just wanted to give you an alert, not a spoiler alert, but just a simple alert that when you listen to this video you will hear in the background the sound of construction at the elementary school on the other side of our backyard. We’ve listened to the video and you can hear it. But I just wanted to let you know that that noise that you hear is remodeling a school so that little children can go to a school that is modern and nice and meet and right so to do. God love you and you keep the faith.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that has been a bit confusing during this pandemic has been sort of a discombobulation or a confusion about what time it is and what day it is. I found myself on more than one occasion just asking someone, “What day is today?” There’s a Psalm in the Hebrew scriptures, Psalm 31. It’s actually quoted in the service of Compline, which is a late night prayer service, and it’s also quoted by Jesus on the cross. It says this:

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame:
deliver me in your righteousness.

And then it goes on and says,

(Lord) Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
for you are my crag and my stronghold;
for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me. . .

Into your hands I commend my spirit,
for you have redeemed me,
O Lord, the God of truth.

On the cross Jesus quoted this psalm as he commended his life into the hands of the father. Into thy hands I commend my spirit. But as the psalm goes on, later on in the psalm it says, “My times are always in your hand.” It may well be that if we have little reminders as the day goes on, we will have a sense of time not determined by a clock but determined by God.

In Psalm 55 the Psalmist says, “In the morning, at noonday and at evening I cry out to you, oh Lord.” Maybe a little habit of grace during this time may be a moment of prayer in the morning, another one at midday, and another in the evening, whether using a prayer book or just a moment to pause and be silent. Whatever way you do it take a moment – morning, midday, evening. Father into thy hands I commend my spirit. For my times are always in your hand.

In 1931 a man named Thomas Dorsey composed a hymn, the words of which and the song have been a long-standing favorite with many people. Lyndon Johnson, President Johnson asked for it to be sung at his funeral. Martin Luther King asked that it be sung at his funeral. Mahalia Jackson sang it. Aretha Franklin sang it. B.B. King played it and sang it. Tennessee Ernie Ford sang it. Johnny Cash sang it. It was composed by Thomas Dorsey living in a time when his times were very much discombobulated. His wife died in childbirth, both she and the child died. In his time of grieving he wrote the words of the hymn that say just simply, “Precious Lord take my hand.”

My times are in thy hand, oh Lord. Father into thy hands I commend my spirit this morning, in noonday, and in the evening.

God love you. God bless you. May God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.

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