Tuesday, February 18, 2014

All Good Gifts

     In the Collect Prayer for the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time we pray that the Lord keep from us "all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good."  In the beginning of the letter of James he says "Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he [God]  promised to those who love him."  Temptations present themselves to us on a constant basis.  They present challenges to us in our spiritual life.  At times we are even "tempted" to say that we are being tempted by God, tested, challenged.  James also reminds his children that God "himself tempts no one."  Temptations come from outside of God, and while they may be endured as a means of testing, they are not of God.

     Again James says in today's first reading that "...all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.  He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."  When temptations come our way, when we are tested in every way, when darkness and gloom, despair and helplessness touch upon our lives, we must recall that the gifts of God are not found there.  When those things are met, they can lead us to open our hearts to "all good giving and every perfect gift" which come from above and are for our good and for life eternal.

     I was reminded of the song "All good gifts" from the musical Godspell by Stephen Schwartz.  The refrain goes:

"All good gifts around us
are sent from Heaven above.
Then thank the Lord,
thank the Lord
for all his love."
It is a beautiful song from a favorite musical of mine of the Christ story.  A harvest song, there is a line in one of the verses that is appropriate to our weather experience this year in particular.  It goes: "He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain ..."  We've had the snow of Winter and are awaiting the warmth of Spring.  As I write, it is snowing again.  Let us thank the Lord for all his love.

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