Friday, April 3, 2020
Daily Lectionary Passages:
Psalm 31:9-16; Job 13:13-19 &
Psalm 31:9-16 (NRSV)
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
In the midst of daily struggles, faith is saying, “You are my God, I trust you, my times are in your hand.” Each morning, we need to again put our faith in God, trusting that He has a plan for us. Our time is serving him, whether it is preparing meals, working in the yard, visiting with a friend, reading a book, or taking food to the hungry. God has given us the time we have to trust Him and be guided by Him. When we live this way, God face will shine upon us, like a father smiling and taking pleasure in His child.
Job 13:13-19 (NIV)
“Keep silent and let me speak;
then let come to me what may.
Why do I put myself in jeopardy
and take my life in my hands?
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless person would dare come before him!
Listen carefully to what I say;
let my words ring in your ears.
Now that I have prepared my case,
I know I will be vindicated.
Can anyone bring charges against me?
If so, I will be silent and die.
Job was a righteous man. When calamity came his friends came and blamed him or called him to turn from his faith. In response, Job remained faithful to God. Where do you put your hope? For Job, his hope was in God. God would be the one to deliver him and defend his case. The friends could not bring charges against him. When we live for God, even the struggles work out for the best, for our salvation. May we live a life always before Christ.
Philippians 1:21-30 (NRSV)
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Paul was writing this letter while under house arrest in Rome awaiting trial. It is in the midst of sheltering in place that he writes, “living is Christ and dying is gain.” Each day, no matter the circumstances, we are to live a life as “small Christs” or as Christians. When we wake in the morning, we put on Christ, much like we get dressed. When we do, we live a life “worthy of the gospel.” In Christ, we have been given new life by grace. This allows us to face our struggles, even to the point of death knowing that Jesus has already given us salvation. May we live serving Christ and when it is time to die, have faith that God has something better.
Caring Lord, we give you this day. Guide us how to live as your children. Take the time you have given us and show us how to live for you. May we have faith in the midst of daily struggles to know that you are with us, and have given us the gift of salvation this day. We thank you that you love us as a parent loves a child. In the grace of your love, let us witness you in all we do.
Today, we pray for those who are dealing with isolation. You have created us to be in relationship with you and others. As people shelter in place, remind us of your presence and the love of others. Guide us on ways we can remain in relationship with one another. Show us how to be the church in a new way.
Loving God, may your arms embrace and protect those dealing with sickness and death today. As the world mourns for those who have died, give us hearts of compassion for all your creation.
(Spend time in silent prayer, praying for those you know. Name them before God and place them in God’s loving arms).
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.