Morning Prayers

Psalm 34:8–10 ‘Taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.’

Lord, so many of us have tasted and experienced for ourselves just how good you are because you have heard our cries for mercy.
You have delivered us from evil;
You have saved so many of us from our sins.
We know you as the God who is good to undeserving sinners, the God who is good continually to his beloved people.

We know that in a broad sense, we have all, regardless of our spiritual state, experienced so much of your goodness, but we do ask that those of us who know you as good to us in Christ would drink more deeply of that goodness today as you, through him, pour into our lives further spiritual blessing, and we pray that there may be others who would taste of that goodness for the first time today.

May they come to know you as God in Christ

Who reaches out to the lost,
Who through the cross has provided for our salvation,
And who now invites us to come to your beloved Son that in him we might be justified.

Do draw near to us, our gracious, good, and loving God;

Bless us with your presence,
And the work of the Spirit in our hearts to stir us up to worship you with fervency and joy and to give us humble and teachable hearts that we might receive believingly and obediently your Word.
Forgive us, we pray, for our sins.
Cleanse us through Jesus’ blood from all unrighteousness.
And give us grace to glory in you.

Through Jesus we pray.
Amen.

David Campbell and Sara Leone

Our Security

JOHN 13:2–11

Love is a great idea. I’m inspired by it. In practice, I find it hard.

There are times when I freely (well, almost freely) give to others. I know I am acting from love. These are satisfying times. There are other times when I hold back. I protect myself because I have decided that no one is going to hurt me.

What makes the difference? I’ll never know all that goes on in my heart, but part of it, at least, is how secure I feel. When I feel good about myself and can believe that I am loved, there is an emotional freedom to reach out and give myself away. When I am plagued by self-doubt and fear, I draw back.

At a time when Jesus could have been consumed by his own needs and anxieties about his impending cross, he picked up a towel and took up a basin. At a time when he knew that he was going to die soon, he washed the feet of those who would betray and abandon him. Why? Jesus was secure in his relationship with his Father and in his Father’s purpose for him. He knew that “he had come from God and was returning to God” and that the “Father had put all things under his power.”

Approach

Our security in God’s love is enhanced by knowing that he is here for us. Think about each task you must do tomorrow. As you list each one, repeat the phrase “I am here for you.”

Stephen D. Eyre and Jacalyn Eyre

Having a Bad Day?

So what should we do when we’ve had a “bad” day spiritually, when it seems we’ve done everything wrong and are feeling very guilty? We must go back to the cross and see Jesus there bearing our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24). We must by faith appropriate for ourselves the blood of Christ that will cleanse our guilty consciences (see Hebrews 9:14).

I am saying that God’s grace through Christ is greater than our sin, even on our worst days. To experience that grace, however, we must lay hold of it by faith in Christ and His death on our behalf. Now, your particular prayer may not be as long as the one I’ve written. The issue is not how long your prayer is; it is the attitude of your heart. Do the sentiments expressed in that prayer reflect your heart attitude? I have read that every time the great nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon stepped into the pulpit, he did so with the silent prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13, KJV). Spurgeon’s one-sentence prayer captures all I’ve expressed in four paragraphs.
You can pray a prayer like this whenever you are acutely aware of your need of God’s intervening grace and at the same time are painfully aware of your total undeservedness of that grace. In fact, we obviously should not wait until we have a need for God to bless us. We should pray such a prayer of repentance and faith just to have our consciences cleansed from all sin and to walk in fellowship with God.

A GOOD DAY

Now, let’s go back to the good-day scenario, the day when your spiritual disciplines are all in place and you are reasonably satisfied with your Christian performance. Have you thereby earned God’s blessing that day? Will God be pleased to bless you because you’ve been good? You are probably thinking, Well, when you put it like that, the answer is no. But doesn’t God only work through clean vessels? To which I reply, “Let’s assume that is true. How good then do you have to be to be a clean vessel? How good is good enough?”

When one of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “ ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matthew 22:36–39).

Using Jesus’ response to the Pharisee as a standard, how good has your good day been? Have you perfectly kept those two commandments? If not, does God grade on a curve? Is 90 percent a passing grade with God? We know the answers to those questions, don’t we? We know that Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). And we remember that James wrote, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

The point of this good-day—bad-day comparison is this: Regardless of our performance, we are always dependent on God’s grace, His undeserved favor to those who deserve His wrath. Some days we may be more acutely conscious of our sinfulness and hence more aware of our need of His grace, but there is never a day when we can stand before Him on our own two feet of performance, when we are worthy enough to deserve His blessing.

At the same time, the good news of the gospel is that God’s grace is available on our worst days. That is true because Christ Jesus fully satisfied the claims of God’s justice and fully paid the penalty of a broken law when He died on the cross in our place. Because of that the apostle Paul could write, “He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).

Does the fact that God has forgiven us all our sins mean that He no longer cares whether we obey or disobey? Not at all. The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Ephesians 4:30). And Paul prayed that we “may please [God] in every way” (Colossians 1:10). We grieve God and we please God. Clearly, He cares about our conduct and will discipline us when we refuse to repent of conscious sin. But God is no longer our Judge. Through Christ He is now our heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and only for our good.

If God’s blessings were dependent on our performance, they would be meager indeed. Even our best works are shot through with sin—with varying degrees of impure motives and lots of imperfect performance. We are always, to some degree, looking out for ourselves, guarding our flanks, protecting our egos. It is because we do not realize the utter depravity of the principle of sin that remains in us and stains everything we do, that we entertain any notion of earning God’s blessings through our obedience. And it is because we do not fully grasp the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins that we despair of God’s blessing when we have failed to live up to even our own desires to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Here is an important spiritual principle that sums up what I’ve said thus far:

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.

Every day of our Christian experience should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. We are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day. This grace comes through Christ, “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:2).

A significant part of the Mosaic Law was the promise of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28, especially verses 1–2 and 15). Some Christians live as if that principle applies to them today. But Paul said that “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Christ has already borne the curses for our disobedience and earned for us the blessings of obedience. As a result we are now to look to Christ alone—not Christ plus our performance—for God’s blessings in our lives. We are saved by grace and we are to live by grace alone.

When we pray to God for His blessing, He does not examine our performance to see if we are worthy. Rather, He looks to see if we are trusting in the merit of His Son as our only hope for securing His blessing. To repeat: We are saved by grace, and we are to live by grace every day of our Christian lives.

If it is true that our relationship with God is based on His grace instead of our performance, why then are we so prone to fall into the good-day—bad-day type of thinking? It is because we have relegated the gospel to the unbeliever.

Jerry Bridges

Judas Kills Himself

Matthew 27:3–10

About that time Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus had been condemned to die, changed his mind and deeply regretted what he had done, and brought back the money to the chief priests and other Jewish leaders.

“I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“That’s your problem,” they retorted.

Then he threw the money onto the floor of the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The chief priests picked the money up. “We can’t put it in the collection,” they said, “since it’s against our laws to accept money paid for murder.”

They talked it over and finally decided to buy a certain field where the clay was used by potters, and to make it into a cemetery for foreigners who died in Jerusalem. That is why the cemetery is still called “The Field of Blood.”

This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah which says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel—and purchased a field from the potters as the Lord directed me.”

These chief priests felt no guilt in giving Judas money to betray an innocent man, but when Judas returned the money, the priests couldn’t accept it because it was wrong to accept money paid for murder! Their hatred for Jesus had caused them to lose all sense of justice.

Too Late

Jesus’ formal accuser wanted to drop his charges, but the religious leaders refused to halt the trial. When he betrayed Jesus, perhaps Judas was trying to force Jesus’ hand to get him to lead a revolt against Rome. This did not work, of course. Whatever his reason, Judas changed his mind, but it was too late. Many of the plans we set into motion cannot be reversed. It is best to think of the potential consequences before we launch into an action we may later regret.

James C. Galvin

Relationship Changes Us

Jeremiah 12:1–13:27; Philemon 1:8–25; Proverbs 14:15–35

Although God has granted us complete access to Him through Christ, we struggle at times to live this reality (John 17:15–17). The stale or frightening depictions of God in stained glass and Renaissance paintings have convinced us that He is distant, quick to anger, or disinterested. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Psalms remind us that He is caring, close, and listening (e.g., Pss 22; 23; 26), and He yearns for a relationship with us.

Sometimes it helps to hear the words of others who have struggled with the same thing. Jeremiah provides us with such an example. He remarks, “You will be in the right, O Yahweh, when I complain to you. Even so, let me speak my claims with you. Why does the way of the wicked succeed? All those who deal treacherously with treachery are at ease” (Jer 12:1). Jeremiah knows that Yahweh is right in all He does, but this does not prevent him from freely expressing his concerns.

If we really look into our hearts, we may find that fear is preventing us from entering into an intimate relationship with Him. We’re afraid of what He will say; we’re concerned that He may rebuke us. Indeed, this is what He does when Jeremiah speaks to Him: “If you run with foot soldiers and they have made you weary, then how will you compete with horses? If you have fallen in a peaceful land, then how will you do in the thickets of the Jordan? For even your relatives, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, even they call loudly after you. You must not trust in them, though they speak kindly to you” (Jer 12:5–6).

Yet within this rebuke, we also find advice—and the advice is comforting. By openly communicating his concerns to God, Jeremiah now knows what he must do. He knows how he must act.

There is joy to be found in knowing that we have a God who listens—a God who is not offended when we speak to Him but is eager for our company. What are we afraid of? After all, He already knows what’s on our minds. We need to grasp the idea that God is all about relationship.

What would change about your life if you went deeper into your relationship with Christ? What should you be asking God right now?

John D. Barry and Rebecca Kruyswijk

Not Even a Man Rising from the Dead

We have all seen him. He lies on a pile of newspapers outside a shop doorway, covered with a rough blanket. Perhaps he has a dog with him for safety. People walk past him, or even step over him. He occasionally rattles a few coins in a tin or cup, asking for more. He wasn’t there when I was a boy, but he’s there now, in all our cities, east, west, north and south.

As I see him, I hear voices. It’s his own fault, they say. He’s chosen it. There are agencies to help him. He should go and get a job. If we give him money he’ll only spend it on drink. Stay away—he might be violent. Sometimes, in some places, the police will move him on, exporting the problem somewhere else. But he’ll be back. And even if he isn’t, there are whole societies like that. They camp in tin shacks on the edges of large, rich cities. From the doors of their tiny makeshift shelters you can see the high-rise hotels and office blocks where, if they’re very lucky, one member of the family might work as a cleaner. They have been born into debt, and in debt they will stay, through the fault of someone rich and powerful who signed away their rights, their lives in effect, a generation or two ago, in return for arms, a new presidential palace, a fat Swiss bank account. And even if rich and poor don’t always live side by side so blatantly, the television brings us together.

So we all know Lazarus. He is our neighbor. Some of us may be rich, well dressed and well fed, and walk past him without even noticing; others of us may not be so rich, or so finely clothed and fed, but compared with Lazarus we’re well off. He would be glad to change places with us, and we would be horrified to share his life, even for a day.
Jesus’ story about Lazarus and the unnamed rich man (he’s often called ‘Dives’, because that’s the Latin word for ‘rich’, but in the story he remains anonymous) works at several levels. It is very like a well-known folk tale in the ancient world; Jesus was by no means the first to tell of how wealth and poverty might be reversed in the future life. In fact, stories like this were so well known that we can see how Jesus has changed the pattern that people would expect. In the usual story, when someone asks permission to send a message back to the people who are still alive on earth, the permission is granted. Here, it isn’t; and the sharp ending of the story points beyond itself to all sorts of questions that Jesus’ hearers, and Luke’s readers, were urged to face.

The parable is not primarily a moral tale about riches and poverty—though, in this chapter, it should be heard in that way as well. If that’s all it was, some might say that it was better to let the poor stay poor, since they will have a good time in the future life. That sort of argument has been used too often by the careless rich for us to want anything to do with it. No; there is something more going on here. The story, after all, doesn’t add anything new to the general folk belief about fortunes being reversed in a future life. But if it’s a parable, that means we should take it as picture-language about something that was going on in Jesus’ own work.

The ending gives us a clue: ‘Neither would they be convinced, even if someone rose from the dead.’ Jesus, we recall, has been criticized for welcoming outcasts and sinners; now it appears that what he’s doing is putting into practice in the present world what, it was widely believed, would happen in the future one. ‘On earth as it is in heaven’ remains his watchword. The age to come must be anticipated in the present.

The point is then that the Pharisees, being themselves lovers of money, were behaving towards the people Jesus was welcoming exactly like the rich man was behaving towards Lazarus. And, just like the rich man, the Pharisees, and anyone else tempted to take a similar line, are now urged to change their ways while there is still time. All Jesus is asking them, in fact, is to do what Moses and the prophets would have said. As Luke makes clear throughout, his kingdom-mission is the fulfillment of the whole story of Israel. Anyone who understands the law and the prophets must therefore see that Jesus is bringing them to completion.

If they do not, then not even someone rising from the dead will bring them to their senses. The last sentence of the parable, like a great crashing chord on an organ, contains several different notes. It speaks of the whole hope of Israel for restoration and renewal. It speaks of the poor and outcast being welcomed by Jesus. And it speaks, for Luke’s readers from that day to this, most powerfully of Jesus himself. One day soon, the reader knows, the law and the prophets will all come true in a new way, as Jesus himself rises again, opening the door to God’s new age in which all wrongs will be put right.

Tom Wright

Lasting Lessons for Joshua 1:1-5

Joshua 1:1–15

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” says the old adage. Many adults find themselves in positions where leaders are needed. Some adults want to lead but doubt they have the necessary skills. Others are reluctant to accept any leadership responsibilities. Some adults are thrust into positions of leadership they neither sought nor want. Many adults think of leadership being the exclusive work of a chosen few; the rest are only followers. However, each adult who is a parent has leadership responsibilities. Only some persons are called to be leaders in highly visible positions of responsibility. All believers need to understand biblical principles of leadership. The Book of Joshua provides some of these principles.

Joshua: The Man and the Book

Joshua is first mentioned in Exodus 17, where shortly after leaving Egypt, he led the fighting men of Israel against the Amalekites [uh-MAL-uh-kights]. He became the servant of Moses and went with him part of the way up Mount Sinai (24:13). He was with Moses when he came down and found that the people had made a golden calf (32:17). He was selected by his tribe of Ephraim to be one of the 12 scouts who explored the land of Canaan (Num. 13:8; “Oshea” in the KJV). Only he and Caleb stood with Moses and Aaron in urging the people to enter Canaan. For this he was told that of the adult generation only the two believing scouts would enter the promised land (14:6, 30). The Lord led Moses to choose Joshua to lead the people into the land and conquer it (27:12–23). After Moses died, Joshua fulfilled this leadership role as instructed (Josh. 1:1–18).

The Book of Joshua tells of the Israelites’ crossing of the Jordan River (chaps. 1–4), the conquest of Canaan (chaps. 5–12), the distribution of the land among the tribes (chaps. 13–21), and Joshua’s final address to the people (chaps. 22–24).

Search the Scriptures

God invited Joshua to step up into the leadership void created by Moses’ death. He promised Joshua that He would be with him and give him success. God gave Joshua the twofold admonition of acting with courage (derived from God’s presence) in carrying out his leadership task and acting with conviction in obeying the instructions God had given.

Step Up (Josh. 1:1–5)

How does the Bible evaluate the work of Moses? What were Joshua’s qualifications to lead? Why is it often hard to be called to step up to the work of a popular leader? What was Joshua’s task? What promises did God make to Joshua and the people? What promises did God make to Joshua himself? What leadership principles are in these verses?

Verses 1–5: Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

After the death of Moses, God called Joshua to lead Israel. Moses was the only leader the people had even known. Although some of the people had grumbled against Moses in his early leadership years, the ones who prepared to enter Canaan held Moses in high regard. God did not allow Moses to enter the land because of his own disobedience, but He did allow Moses to view the land from a high mountain (Deut. 32:48–52). Deuteronomy 34:10 records, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” Another indication of the Lord’s high regard of Moses is that he was given the title the servant of the LORD.

Joshua was called Moses’ minister (“assistant,” NEB, REB, NRSV; “aide,” NIV). He was the one who helped Moses in various ways. Moses was his mentor, which was good preparation for his later leadership role. God had told Moses to name Joshua as his successor. Moses obeyed and openly announced this to the people. Therefore, although the people grieved the death of Moses, the people were ready to follow Joshua. A leadership void can be a real crisis, but God acted and Moses and Joshua obeyed.

Joshua was faced with a formidable task. He was to lead the people across the Jordan River and conquer the land that the Lord had promised them. Stepping up into a task that had been done by a popular leader can be daunting. Moses had been the human leader through whom God brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage, gave them the law, and led them for 40 years in the wilderness. The announcement Moses my servant is dead could have discouraged the Israelites. They knew of Joshua and of his assistance to Moses, but as their main leader he was an unknown. What were Joshua’s qualifications for becoming the leader? For one thing, he had led the Israelites in battle. This was a plus for someone who would need to lead them in conquering the land. Joshua had proved faithful in all his previous assignments. When most of the people wanted to return to Egypt for fear of the Canaanites, he remained loyal to the Lord. His strongest qualification was the assurance of the Lord’s presence with him to provide strength and courage for the task.

One of the good things about Joshua was that he was content to be himself. He was not Moses, and he did not claim to have all of Moses’ skills. He had his own gifts and abilities, and he was thus prepared for the assignment he was given. Moses had served in his day; now it was time for Joshua to serve. All of us have windows of opportunity to serve the Lord and to do our assigned work, but that window is not open forever. As I have gotten older, I realize how short a time we have to do our work. Generations come and go. People are mortal and time passes quickly. Joshua and the people could have panicked when their leader died, but instead they moved forward under a new leader.

As an example of these principles, let’s take the situation in a church whose long-tenured and highly popular pastor has retired. A committee has recommended a new pastor, and the church has called him. What challenges does this pose for the pastor and for the church? The church will inevitably compare the new pastor to their beloved former pastor. They need to see that God calls pastors to do what needs to be done at a given time. They should not expect the new pastor to be the old pastor; they are two different people.

Benjamin Franklin was very popular when he served as minister to France. Thomas Jefferson was sent to that position when Franklin left the post. When Jefferson presented his credentials as United States Minister to France, the French premier said, “I see that you have come to replace Benjamin Franklin.” Jefferson wisely replied, “I have come to succeed him. No one can replace him.” In the same way, Joshua was called not to replace Moses but to succeed him.

The words you and your in verses 3–4 are plural; the words thee and thy in verse 5 are singular. In other words, verses 3–4 are promises to Joshua and the people; verse 5 is a promise to Joshua. So sure was it that God already had given the land to them that God spoke to the people as if the land were already theirs. He spoke of the land which I do give in verse 2, and He used the words have I given unto you in verse 3. This did not mean that they had nothing to do. They had to conquer it, but they were assured that God already had given it to them.

Verse 4 gives the boundaries of the land God was giving them. The wilderness was the desert region in the south of Canaan. Lebanon was on the north part of the coast. The eastern boundary was the river Euphrates. The western border was the great sea or Mediterranean Sea.

God promised Joshua that no one would be able to successfully stand against him all the days of his life. In other words, “no one will ever be able to defeat you” (CEV). Joshua had witnessed how the Lord was with Moses, in fellowship and in service. Now the Lord promised to be with Joshua in the same way. I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. For Christian leaders this is the secret of whatever good is done through them and the secret for the strength that sustains them under the most trying circumstances.

What are the lasting lessons in Joshua 1:1–5?

The departure of a popular leader creates a crisis for the followers and for a new leader.

New leaders do not replace former leaders; they succeed them.

Christian people follow divine leadership above all human leaders.

God’s people seek God’s will in selecting leaders.

God’s people rely on God’s presence to complete God-given assignments.

Robert J. Dean

A 1,000 Thoughts

Lifelong, serious Bible study pays its greatest dividends on the deathbed, for only the authority of the Word of God can brace the soul for its upward flight. For Richard Baxter, the comforting passage was Hebrews 12:22–24.

Baxter was a seventeenth-century Puritan whose sermons and writings established him as one of the most powerful men of his era. His book, The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, is beloved to this day. But Baxter tended to be sickly, and in 1662 he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for his Puritan views. The imprisonment further damaged his health, and Baxter returned home weakened.

He was able to temporarily continue public ministry, then infirmity confined him to his rented house where, according to an old, undated biography, he opened his doors, morning and evening, to all that would join in family worship with him; to whom he read the Holy Scriptures and taught those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ. But, alas, his growing diseases and infirmities soon forbade this also, confining him first to his chamber, and after to his bed. There, through pain and sickness, his body wasted; but his soul abode strong.

The description in Hebrews 12:22–24 was most animating to him, that he was going to the innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the First-Born whose names are written in heaven; to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant. “That scripture,” he said, “deserves a thousand thousand thoughts.”

On Monday, December 7, 1691, Baxter was seized by trembling and chill and began crying to God for pity; which cries and agony continued for some time, till at length he ceased those cries, and so lay in patient expectation of his change.

About four the next morning, Richard Baxter was promoted to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, to that heavenly Jerusalem, and to the Saint’s Everlasting Rest.

Robert J. Morgan

A Morning Prayer

The day demands that we begin in praise of you,
for the day is yours and we are yours;
we could not live the day without reference to you,
without your gifts,
without your commands.
We begin with praise,
for the gift of life,
for the gift of our life together,
for the gift of life in your world
with all your beloved creatures,
for the gift of life in your church
with your steady recital of wonders.
You, you alone, only you,
you who made and makes and remakes heaven and earth,
you who executes justice and gives food we know not how,
you who sets prisoners free and sights the blind,
you who lifts up and watches and upholds,
you who reigns forever,
you … and therefore us.
You, except we turn to lesser trusts,
all of us with our trust in the powers,
You, except we turn to ignoble aims,
all of us preoccupied with ourselves.
You, except we invest in our little controls and our larger fears,
all of us marked by anxiety.
And then we watch as you ease us out of anxiety,
as you heal our selves turned new,
as you topple powers and bring new chances
for truthful public life.
You … except … but then finally, always, everywhere you …
and us on the receiving end.
And we are grateful. Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

A Good Night Prayer

With the energy we have,
we begin the day,
waiting and watching and hoping.

We wait,
not clear about our waiting.
But filled with a restlessness,
daring to imagine
that you are not finished yet—
so we wait,
patiently, impatiently,
restlessly, confidently,
quaking and fearful,
boldly and daring.

Your sovereign decree stands clear
and we do not doubt.
We wait for you to dissolve in tender tears.
Your impervious rule takes no prisoners,
we wait for you to ache and hurt and care over us
and with us
and beyond us.
Cry with us the brutality
grieve with us the misery
tremble with us the poverty and hurt.
Attend to us—by attending in power and in mercy,
remake this alien world into our proper home.

We pray in the name of the utterly homeless one,
even Jesus.

Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

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