My thoughts (David Zier):
Remember the song “Ring Around the Rosy” from when you were a kid? It has origins in English history. Here are the lyrics:
Ring around the rosy/Pocket full of posies/Ashes, ashes/We all fall down.
These lyrics date back to the Great Plague of London (1665, or to the first outbreak in 1300s). A rosy red rash in the shape of a ring on the skin (“Ring around the rosy”) was one of the first symptoms to appear. The English version of “Ring around the rosy” replaces “Ashes” with “A-tishoo, A-tishoo,” because violent sneezing was another symptom of the disease. “Ashes, Ashes” refers to cremation. People would carry with them pockets or pouches filled with sweet smelling herbs (posies) because it was believed the disease was transmitted by bad smells. The plague ended with the Great Fire of London in 1666. This killed the rats that carried the disease and tainted the water supply.
Today’s scripture is about “falling away” (falling down). As I read this, it reminded me of the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosy” in the falling down, but I did not know the rhyme’s origin. “God, why did this pop in my mind as I read this passage?”
From verse 8, “For those who have been enlightened and tasted the goodness of God and God’s Word, yet have fallen away,” tells of a kind of spiritual death that can happen when we grow distant from God. Even if we carry around with us “pockets full of posies,” things that smell good, taste good, and feel good, but don’t bring us closer to God, then superficiality can settle in. How can we grow closer to God, show the love of Christ, and grow as imitators of Christ if the plague of superficiality or the plague of “me first no matter what” settles in?
There are many ways that we can move back in the direction toward God. God’s grace is always with us, so the result of this plague (versus the one in 1600′s) can be different. At LifeJourney Church, we have taken principles and lessons demonstrated in the Bible on how people have stayed connected and grow toward God. This is represented by our Building Blocks. As you read these, how is God tugging at your heart that will help you grow and deepen your relationship with God?
Build Blocks For Growing Our Souls
W Consistency in weekly worship
C Connecting to people in a deep spiritual way through small groups
Q Quiet time daily with God (pray, read God’s Word, listening, etc.)
G Consistently giving of my financial resources
S Living a life of service
? Unique things I’m called to do to further my spiritual growth
Thought for the day: How am I growing toward God?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.