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I pray the Lord my soul to keep

by davesandel on December 31st, 2021

Friday, December 31, 2021                                         (today’s lectionary)

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

“It’s so dark out here, I don’t like it.” Our neighbor Sandy looked at me. “Why?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”

We see Sandy often these days, walking the circuit around our apartment complex, over and over while her arm, broken in three places a month ago, continues to heal. She works as a masseuse, and she isn’t working at all until her arm can do that work again.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race.

“Everything looks so different,” I said. But there was more to it than that. Lights seem brighter than they should be. They frizz me out a little. And when I turn off the highway into our quiet apartment house drive and turn out the lights of our car, I feel my body relax.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

On the way home from our trip to San Antonio we drove through the neighborhood behind us. Christmas lights lit up lawn after lawn. We opened our windows and could hear crickets, quietly welcoming the night. A deer crossed the street in the shadows, in the same spot that last week we saw a whole family of deer in one yard, eating whatever treats the human family had put out for them.

Those lights didn’t bother me; I sought them out. It’s the headlights of heavy traffic. The lights seem disembodied, even though I know, of course, that there are cars and people behind the lights.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

In San Antonio we sought out peaceful places. Before going to sleep Wednesday night I sat for a long time looking out our tenth floor hotel window at the lights stretching far out to the west. The next day we spent several hours at the San Antonio Museum of Art. We walked, of course, and we also sat, gazing at stunning sculptures and paintings, as well as the San Antonio River beyond the windows. We were in no hurry and shared simple thoughts with each other about what we saw and what we felt.

Driving through Alamo Plaza after we left the museum, I saw signs for Ripley’s Haunted Adventure! And The Amazing Mirror Maze!! We kept driving down Houston Street past The Buckhorn Saloon and Howl-at-the-Moon Dueling Piano Bar. Where are the peaceful places?

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

We settled in at HEB Headquarters for a little grocery shopping at the smallest and cutest HEB Central Market in Texas. A remarkably friendly guy named Wendell commiserated with us when once again we failed to find “real sugar” cola in the store that used to be famous for that kind of thing.

But. To those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.

Yesterday the temperature outside was 82 degrees. We opened the windows and drove to the Japanese Tea Garden, across the street from the San Antonio Zoo. Peaceful. In spite of a crowd of visitors, I felt quiet. We sat and watched the fish and birds and felt the presence of sculpture and garden. Many of the folks around us felt that too. It was easy to pray.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

Driving home in the settling darkness was interesting, as I said. We settled back into our Austin home. The bed beckoned. Now I lay me down to sleep. The little child in me took a deep breath and said, “Thank you.”


(1 John 2, Psalm 96, John 1)

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