Palm 81:6-13 (NRSV)

6 “I relieved your  shoulder of the burden; your  hands were freed from the basket. 7 In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. (Selah) 8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me! 9 There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. 10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 11 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. 13 O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

2 Timothy 1:4 (NIV)

4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

DEVOTION – Trudy K. Snyder (Pennsylvania)

My aging mother lives alone and enjoys company from family and friends.  Her world has shrunk considerably since Daddy died, and she seldom ventures out of the house except to go to the grocery store and the nearby pharmacy.  Now and then she comments that children don’t stop in often enough.  But when she said “I get homesick for my children,”  a sudden sadness melted my heart and her words prompted me to deeper reflection.  Does God feel homesick for us?

The Israelites, God’s chosen people, drifted away time after time; yet God never neglected them.  Instead, God provided for them and corrected them.  God was patient and fair.  Why?  Because the bonds between God and the people God loved brought God tremendous joy.

I suddenly longed to see Mom, to tell her that I loved her, to talk, to laugh, and to enjoy her company.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Are you longing for a loved one?  So is God.

PRAYER:  Dear Father, please forgive our self-centered busyness.  Help us to whittle away the unimportant events that consume our time.  Help our actions to reflect what’s in our hearts as we pray, “Our Farther which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  Amen.