Day 47: Surviving Hard Times
2 Corinthians 11.25-27
Dear Lord, we read how Paul describes his trials: “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked,” and we ask, “How Lord did Paul do this?”
As we end this series on the Great 50 Days after Easter, I want to focus on the Lessons we can learn from Paul that The Reverend Adam Hamilton has posited. They are actions we can embrace to help us when times are difficult.
The first action is praying and singing hymns. When I was just starting my journey toward ordination, my mentor was The Reverend Tracy Mac Neil Wines. I told her that I was frustrated because I did not know the Scriptures as well as my classmates. She had a Scripture passage for everything; but I had been brought up in the Roman Catholic faith—and while I knew the Baltimore Catechism by heart, I had been taught that reading scripture required a priest’s help. Reverend Wines encouraged me to learn the hymns and “pray them,” because they were all steeped in Scriptures.
Since then I have done research on the brain, I have discovered that singing has physiological benefits, too. So Paul is practicing good health habits when he sings the hymns. Reverend Hamilton cautions that people who arrive at church just to hear the sermon are missing out on the full effect of worship. He reminds us that the People of Haiti and Appalachia know in their bones something that eludes us—they know that the power of prayer and praise opens up the power of God in our lives. Let us give thanks for the people who teach us how to praise God with hymns.
Recap Prayer: Eternal God, we thank you for the gift of music, for the people who lead us, and the power that you release in us when we sing your praises. Amen.