Initial note: to make the most of these devotionals it is suggested that the disciple does their best to enter into the Scripture as if hearing it for the very first time, as if they are in the presence of the very first hearers. Allow yourself to feel the location, and the message in a sensory manner. In other words live God’s Word. I have found that this approach can move us into what can only be described as a timeless place, where we can truly experience the slowing we seek in God’s presence.
Monday, Day Twenty-Two, December 19th
Dear Lord Jesus, as we enter into these final days of Advent I pray that the slowing You have been bringing upon me comes to rest in inner stillness deep within me, which allows me to rest in Your glorious presence. Help me to become inwardly still that I may come to know You more intimately, as I ponder Love that has taken up residence in me at the deepest levels of who I am. Lord, help me rest in Your love that casts out all fear, ends all violence and brings all things together in divine wholeness. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 slowly: Do not rush. Savor each word. Listen attentively to God’s Word. You may want to read it several times, with no agenda but to simply hear God’s Word spoken into your heart. Allow the words to reverberate in your mind. Be open and aware of any thoughts and feelings; physically and emotionally without dwelling on them. Let yourself slowdown in God’s presence. Feel the slowing. When you feel fully recollected consider the thought that follows. Finally consider the questions provided. You may be drawn to journal your thoughts as you move through God’s Word. Be open to this direction as it comes upon you.
Thought: Paul places Love is the premier virtue and gift of God. Speaking in tongues, prophecy, knowledge of all mysteries and even great faith, works of grace or piety is meaningless without love. Then Paul offers us a list of love’s attributes. Love acts with patience, kindness, humility, and decorum; love is selfless, not able to be provoked, nor is it bent on revenge. Love rejoices not in unrighteousness but does rejoice with the truth. Love is longsuffering, believing, hopeful and enduring in all things. Love never fails, but all else will eventually fail. Paul then speaks of our partial knowledge in the midst of coming perfection. However, in our immaturity and inability to see clearly we do have the ability to abide in faith, hope and love, with the greatest of these being love.
Although we have been given great gifts none are of any eternal benefit without love. As I meditate of the attributes of love in these verses I am struck by their overall positive nature, which makes perfect sense within the context of faith, hope and love. I am also struck by the inference that although we are not perfect that perfection is with us and by love we can practice and participate in perfection, which is Love.
Questions to consider: How do you allow all of the gifts that God has given to you to be reflected into the world through Love? How do you experience Love? Does your experience of love coincide with Paul’s description as given in these verses? Does the observation that love is overwhelmingly positive in nature resonate with your experience; if so in what ways? How do you experience perfection in the midst of your imperfection? Reflect on your answers and observations with regard to inner stillness.