Monday, October 15, 2007

Heavenly treasure

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Luke 12, 13, 14

Luke 12:32-34 (NIV)

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Good morning!

Every so often, the Holy Spirit will lead me to a place of immense surprise and delight. I experienced a spiritual delight last night during a Taizé prayer service in St. Louis. The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian men’s monastic order located in Taizé, France. The community of prayer and worship was founded by Brother Roger, who provided leadership and support until his death in 2005. The community comprises over 100 men from many nations representing Protestant and Catholic branches of Christianity. Its main purpose is to join hearts and hands together in prayer, meditation and worship. This is a welcoming place, where Christians of all races and traditions are invited to come and worship together as one.

I attended a Taizé prayer service last night with a dear friend. We sat in a candle-lit sanctuary. The focal point was a six-foot crucifix. The light from the candles danced across the room. Behind us, we could hear a fountain of water bubbling up and racing along the large stone basin. The service was led by a pianist, a flautist, and a cantor. There were moments of silent meditation, followed by the reading of Holy Scripture, and the singing of praise choruses in both Latin and English.

In this holy space, the presence of God was alive and real. His Spirit was so very present that I felt as if I could simply reach out and touch Him. As persons of many Christian traditions and faith gathered as one to worship Christ, the Holy Spirit simply fell upon all who were gathered there. At one point in the service, congregants were invited to move toward the cross and pay honor to the Lord who died for our sin. An elderly man rose up onto the platform and went directly to the cross. He touched the hand-painted face of Christ, bent over and kissed his nail-scarred hands. He placed his hand at the wound at Christ’s side. He knelt down and kissed his bleeding feet. What happened in that moment literally took my breath away. His simple expression of love for the Lord moved me to tears. I stopped singing. I could barely breathe. His simple act of love was a tender and holy moment. It is something I will never, ever forget as long as I live.

The prayers rose up in the silence of the room, where repentant hearts prayed for mercy and grace. The sick and infirm were remembered. The joy of salvation was celebrated. In this sacred silence, with the fountain of living water bubbling up inside the stone basin, I experienced the risen Christ a new and powerful way.

Prayer brings us face to face with Jesus Christ. Heavenly treasure is protected and valued in this place. There is an amazing love that can only be experienced through intimate fellowship with the Savior in prayer and praise. And something quite extraordinary happens when Christians gather to pray. This has been the Taizé experience. Thousands of young people, ages 18-30, travel to France during summer breaks and Holy Week to participate in worldwide prayer and worship with others from around the world. So often, we allow our preferred theological beliefs and brick walls to separate the community of faith from corporate prayer. Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and He shows up when we allow those walls to fall down.

Come and meet the risen Lord with me in prayer today. He is alive! He is here! And He is calling your name. Won’t you come and delight in the heavenly treasure He has prepared for you?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: Jesus to become very real to you today in prayer. He surprises me daily with his compassion, mercy and love. Experience the joy of knowing the One who saves you by grace. Let’s pray together.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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