Just like that, the season changes. While half of the planet turns cold, dying away toward winter, the other half wakes to new life, blooming toward summer. The cycle of life and death begins anew.
And you are there.
When we find joy, you are there.
When we cannot be consoled, you are there.
When we know trouble, you are there.
When we know peace, you are there.
You are here.
In the now, in the then;
In the joy or the sorrow,
You are here.
By your grace, let me sense your presence. Let me recognize you in the season as it changes. By your grace, change me, too. Let me become more and more the one you created me to be. Amen.
“There was a rich man …”
who couldn’t see his brother, naked, hungry, full of sores.
But you did.
And you valued him so highly, you gave him a name:
Lazarus – “God helps.” (Luke 16:19-20)
The psalmist cries, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.” Our hope is in you, who watch over strangers, upholding widows and orphans. (Psalm 146:3, 9)
Help us to see the stranger who lands on our doorstep.
And when we are the strangers at someone else’s door,
Let them see us, and value us as you do, so that together,
We may take hold of the life that really is life. (1 Timothy 6:16)
Holy one, this prayer has something to do with paradox. Please help me remember the brilliant idea you gave me while I was up to my elbows in dishwater and couldn’t write it down. It had something to do with Noah’s 3 sons, and a dishonest manager being commended for his shrewdness.
It had something to do with the way the world turns upside down when a queen dies, while others pass from this life to the next with barely a 5-line obituary. It had something to do with one person’s grief triggering another’s deep pain, and how we never really know which end of the equation is ours, the grieving or the aggrieved.
It had something to do with holding two truths – or maybe more – in tension, not balance. Because they need to push and pull on each other in order to be truth at all. It had something to do with recognizing the pain we cause when we assume we are the victims, while our privilege shields us from seeing ourselves as perpetrators.
It had something to do with the way righteousness encompasses both judgment and mercy, a seed has to die for a plant to take root, something can only be lost if it belonged to someone in the first place. Death is necessary for resurrection to happen.
It had something to do with the assurance your love endures to all generations without fail, and in the end, evil will not be able to withstand such love.
Whatever that brilliant prayer about paradox was, Lord, you already know it. Help me to see this week that Truth might be bigger than I can grasp, but just because I can’t grasp it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. So show me the little truths holding each other together in opposition, and give me grace to walk humbly with you in your enduring love. Amen.
You who birthed all things into being,
who flung the stars and separated the waters from the dry land,
were your arms tired after all that making?
Did your back ache from your labor?
Did you decide to give us rhythms of rest and work
because you, yourself, in all your infinite power, needed the same?
Grant us the wisdom to know when to work, and when to rest.
Give us newness of heart, as we begin this week.
May our labor be fruitful, and may our rest be sweet,
and may both reflect your glory. Amen.