June 6, 2019
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology 
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalms 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
John 17:20-26

Celebrating Easter

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The readings for today had me thinking about how we know that the Lord is with us and how does God help us to get through our tribulations and stay steadfast in our faith?  In other words, how does faith sustain us on a day to day basis?  Thinking about Paul’s difficulties with the Sadducces and the Pharisees is a good start.  Paul was in big trouble.  He just about got killed.  But “the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Take courage.’”  How did he hear that?  Did an angel appear to Paul?  What ever it was, it gave Paul great courage as he pressed on in the faith to bear witness to the Lord. 

The readings in Psalms 16 were surely on Paul’s mind as he continued to risk his life to preach the Gospel.  Paul believed that the Lord would hold fast to him and keep him safe, that the Lord would counsel him, and that he would not be disturbed if he stayed at the right hand of the Lord.  His faith gave him confidence that the Lord would show him the path to life.  It gave him hope.  We too are called to this faith, to this confidence, and to this hope.  And, we too can know that the Lord is with us.  Yes, how do we know that?

Can it be, that we too are in the presence of angels as spirit messengers from God?  The Bible says angels exist, so I believe they are real.  But I don’t know exactly what they look like or sound like.  I don’t think anyone has a definitive definition of their essence, despite the fact artists have imagined them variously for ages.  I’ve never seen those angels except for maybe at a children’s Christmas pageant.  But I do believe angels comfort and protect us and help keep us on the right path by bringing messages to us even today just as they did for our ancestors throughout the Old and New Testaments.   I often feel them near, especially during difficulties, and always in times when I am drawing on my faith for courage to witness to the Gospel.  I can’t explain it in concrete terms and I don’t feel the need to do so.  It is a matter of faith and I think it is an individual thing with each of us.  We all must develop our own faith and our own relationships with angels.  It isn’t going to be the same for everybody.

But one thing we can all have in common is that old spiritual tune that I often hum to myself and I hope you will be humming today, “All night, all day, angels watching over me my Lord, all night, all day, angels watching over me!”

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