{RE:} "How Do We Return?"

Friday: "How Do We Return?"

Friday! You made it through week one - even if you didn’t do these readings and reflections at 5 am, or if you had to catch up and read a couple in one day, I am hoping that you are beginning to see the outline of a daily rhythm. I am praying that these moments at the start of your day serve as an anchor for your soul!

After the "respond" section, you’ll note a “weekly review”. You can save these questions for this weekend if you’d like (or do them as part of an extended practice today). These questions are similar to the Daily Examen I am often talking about and are a great way to help reflect and process.

We've spent this week thinking about what it means to "return" and how it prepares us for the resurrection. For our last scripture about returning, we will read from the book of Malachi. A quick important note - the book of Malachi is filled with statements from God followed by questioning responses from Israel. The book opens with God declaring "I have loved you" and the people answering with "How have you loved us?" At best, the people are blind to their spiritual condition. At worst, they are being intentionally difficult with God. Keep that in mind as you read this passage!

Read: Malachi 3:6-7 (Message Translation)

"I am GOD - yes, I AM. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven't done a thing I've told you. Return to me so I can return to you," says God-of-the-Angel-Armies (Lord of Hosts).

"You ask, 'But how do we return?"


Despite all of their disobedience and hardened hearts toward God, he never stops calling them back to him. Even here, where he is being kind of harsh (I haven't changed, that's why you haven't been destroyed... yikes) he is still begging them to return to him! He wants the best for Israel, and for all of creation.
  • Take a minute this morning to simply give thanks to a God who pursues us, even at our worst moments. 

Israel responds by asking "But how do we return?"
In some ways, this reminds me of the prodigal son, who plans out his speech and punishment before even starting his journey home. He has it all figured out, but barely gets a word in before the father embraces him and throws a party.
  • Can you relate? Do you ever know that you need to return to God but you over-complicate it, assuming he wants you to have it all figured out before you get to him? 
  • What keeps you from returning to God in some areas?

The passage that follows Israel's question is about not robbing God of the best gifts we have to offer. We often associate it with tithing and financial gifts. However, I think it would be fair to also read it as saying: "Don't hold back anything from God! Give him your all, your whole self!"
  • If you asked God this question today "How do I need to return to you?" - what do you think he might say? 
  • What is something you could do (a fast, a habit or rhythm, a practice, etc) in the next week to commit to returning to God in some way?


“O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest
we shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be our strength:
by the power of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence,
where we may be still and know that you are God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Book of Common Prayer, page 832

Week-end review:

Where have you seen God move in your life this week? Take a moment and name this, then give thanks.

What areas of your life need resurrection and transformation in this season? Take a moment to confess and ask God to continue his work in you.

After you’ve reflected on where you’ve been this week, invite God to go with you into the week ahead.


Nick Tebordo - March 11th, 2022 at 5:27am

“Returning and rest—quietness and trust—in the Holy Spirit”. These words in the Book of Common Prayer speak to my heart about how we return to God. Last night at Fresh Fire, Andrew, Peter, and Jon were leading. There were 4 of us in attendance. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring revival and I lay down on the floor to pray. The music was wonderful-very personal time with the Lord. When I looked around after about 20 minutes, 7 people had come in! One of them was a young lady who had been very dear to me as a child. She was a friend of Zach’s. I wept for joy. We prayed together. Chris had brought 2 of his sons and another fellow he has been praying for-another Nick! He received Christ last night. God had a great night prepared—and I did nothing except return and rest!

Melody - March 11th, 2022 at 6:58am

This week, I did see God work as I "returned" to him in one area of struggle. It was a classic God story, where I told him in prayer that I was making a commitment to being open to his leading, to walking through the day listening and obeying, setting aside my plans and ideas.

The very next day, a call for help came, and answering it was really difficult. But AJ & I both felt like--how could we not help? For me, this was especially true after I told God I would do the hard things if he asked. So we said yes.

Then last night something completely unexpected happened, and as it turns out, our help is not needed. It was, I think, a test.

Linda Comstock - March 11th, 2022 at 7:31am

To return to the Lord is to reflect, remember and repent of our shortfalls. The Lord will renew and restore us as we return to Him. Thank you Lord that You are a forgiving Lord. Help me to turn from my sinful ways, to keep my eyes focused on You because life and living is all about You.

Janet Nygren - March 11th, 2022 at 7:35am

What does it mean to give my all? I think I am always fearful of this question because I am afraid of being overwhelmed. I have been burnt out in the past. Was that because of God's call? Or was it other people taking advantage of me? Or was it my own desire to please others and get credit? I think I have always wrestled with this question and still don't know the answer. Perhaps God is gentler on me than I am on myself. When I ask for his help he answers. Lord, help me to keep slowly stepping in the direction you call me.

Teri - March 11th, 2022 at 9:21am

I feel as if every time I make an effort to reach out God pushes me in a different direction, but I don’t know which way to turn. I suspect he’s telling me to turn inward. Without a church family to surround us, it’s been lonely, especially for Julia. So, I refocus, within these 4 walls for Julia - praying that God will help me to continue to help her through the power of my very tired Holy Spirit.

Nick Tebordo - March 12th, 2022 at 6:37am

Reflecting on our journey together, I have greatly appreciated not just the Scripture, but also the diverse readings that Kaitlyn has given us to reflect on. From Augustine to the Book of Common Prayer, these readings have provided insight that show how our journey connects with Christians through the millennia.




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