Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Wednesday, November 12

Faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 13:13

I belong to a church, and, for the better part of my life, to a denomination as well. But ask me about my faith, the stories that flow do not come from a single source. Instead, I have seen God in many places.

I am not Seventh Day Adventist, but all of our children were born in a Seventh Day Adventist hospital that both brought them into life and saved the life of my wife. I am not a Quaker, but my parents are, and from them I have learned the power of presence. 

When they are gathered in a circle of silence, and the  kids come bounding up the stairs from Sunday school and into the circle, I had thought the disruption would surely bring the service to an end.  But that is not what happened. Instead, they found their parents, sat beside them or on their laps, and were utterly silent.

I am not Methodist, but a Methodist hospital once saved my life.  Nor am I an Episcopalian, but an Episcopal hospital did the same thing after my first heart attack.  When it was time for rehabilitation, it was a Catholic hospital that said, "Come here and we will bless your return to life." I am not Muslim, but the Sufi maxim that asks us to "love the water more, the pitcher less" has become a helpful way to guide my thoughts and prayers. 

The list goes on and on. I suspect it is the same for you.  If the water is life, and the pitcher is the way we carry it, it is understandable that our priorities might become skewed. We want to make sure the pitcher doesn't leak. We want to make sure it is unbreakable, that it is large enough to not run dry after blessing a family or a congregation. 

We might want to make sure it is dignified, that its colors are pleasing, and that we know where to store it.  We might even end up saying, "This is the pitcher" that must be used and "this is how you carry it." At the expense of the water, we become imprisoned by our understanding of the pitcher. 

It might be tempting to say, "Let's not worry about the pitcher at all."  But if we go that way, we may haphazardly carry precious water. We must love both the pitcher and the water.  But, in the end, we must love the water more.

Faith, hope and love are three of its life-giving streams.

God of life, you give us healing water to carry and share. We do so trusting in faith that it is your water; hoping that you will abide with us; and thanking you for reminding us that you are Love. Amen.