Daily Bread September 23

Letting Go
Larry McGuire of Gilbert, AZ, USA

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
    righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
    and righteousness will look down from the sky. -Psalm 85:10-11

It had been a difficult day. I was trying to prepare a memorial service to honor a cousin who had passed away. I was trying to manage a difficult relationship between some people in the mission center whose brokenness went back many years without reconciliation. And now I was caught up in the mess. I tried to take time to breathe and let some of my anxiety go, but nothing seemed to help.

“And he spent the night in prayer to God” is a phrase about Jesus that we find in Luke’s testimony. I’d spent several minutes and felt no relief, but Jesus spent the entire night in prayer to God. So what can I learn? What did Jesus need to let go of to have the freedom to spend the entire night with God? I’m sure Jesus was dealing with needs that were more pressing than the few I had at that moment, but it felt as if I had no space to do anything.

In his book How Then, Shall We Live? Wayne Muller says, “Much of spiritual practice is this: cutting away what must be cut, and letting remain what must remain. Knowing what to cut-this is wisdom. Being clear and strong enough to make the cut when it is time for things to go-this is courage. Together, the practices of wisdom and courage enable us, day by day and task by task, to gradually simplify our life” (pp. 205-6).

Just like a maintenance crew trims trees with low-hanging branches that make it difficult to walk on sidewalks, or a vine grower clears away the dead branches to allow space for new growth, I was being invited to let go.

Meister Eckhart is believed to have said, “God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.” Maybe the rhythm of being a disciple is to breathe, pray, listen, and let go.

Prayer Phrase

“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).

Spiritual Practice

Reflecting on Presence

Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:

Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?

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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