Daily Bread November 20

Singing Hope
Michele McGrath of Blue Springs, MO, USA

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God… Suddenly…the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. -Acts 16:25-26 NRSV

The news that day was dominated by a mass shooting, an oil spill threatening an entire ecosystem, a damaging flood attributed to climate change, and stories of political corruption. In other words, sadly, it was a day much like any other day.

But that particular day, everything seemed to weigh extra heavily on my soul, and I felt a sense of hopelessness that things would ever really change for the better. I just couldn’t see the way forward. Imagine how much more hopeless the situation of Paul and Silas must have appeared to the other prisoners in the jail that dark night. But Paul and Silas had hope in the gospel that accompanied them in the most difficult times. So…they sang!

So…I sang. I went to church with a heavy heart that Sunday, but I sang songs of praise and confession, proclamation and commitment. With the sacred community gathered there, my heart lifted, the chains appeared less permanent, the situation less bleak, the future hopeful because of the God who makes a way when there is no way.

Isn’t it amazing that singing together is a communal spiritual practice that shakes the foundations, opens the doors, and unfastens the chains? I remember the role sacred singing played in the U.S. civil rights movement and realize this scriptural story is so true it happens over and over again.

So, when you find yourself in the midnight moments of life, imprisoned in hopelessness, remember that singing together is a gift that restores hope and forms us for redemptive action in Christ’s name. Let’s sing!

Prayer Phrase

In God, I live and move and have my being.

Spiritual Practice

Breathing in the Spaces

When you move into different spaces throughout your day, consciously place yourself in the new setting with a desire to be alert to God’s presence. Over time, simply taking a deliberate breath will remind you that you are in God’s presence and that you want to be alert to God’s purposes in that setting. When entering the different spaces in your day (workplace, a colleague’s office, a restaurant or place of business, school or places where people meet) pause and take a deliberate breath. When returning home, pause to take a breath. As you take a deep breath, breathe in the goodness of the profound presence and purposes of God in each place you find yourself. Allow yourself to be drawn to people who may be blessed in simple ways by you being aware of them as persons of worth. -adapted from missionalleaders.org

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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