A Devotion for Saturday, April 4, 2020
Mark 10:32-34 (NRSV)
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; 34 they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
Moments When God Happens
“Jesus was walking ahead of them;
they were amazed and those who followed were afraid.”
Why “amazed”? Jesus was merely walking – not even on water, just on the road. And why “afraid”? They were, after all, going to be in Jerusalem for Passover, something every Jew hoped for. This text describes a moment you had to be there for. It’s like those times when there’s electricity in the air, and you know history is being made right at that moment.
Today – April 4 – is the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The night before, in Memphis, Tennessee, he delivered his “I have been to the mountain top” speech. Listening to audio clips of that speech years later, the hair on the back of my neck still rises up. That, too, was a moment in which history was happening right there. King spoke of the very real possibility of being killed (as Jesus had just done prior to vs. 32) and also the unstoppable “glory of the coming of the Lord.”
More than mere history, God was “happening” both times. No wonder amazement and fear were in the air.
Prayer: Holy One, keep me attentive to the moments
when you happen in history still today. Amen.
Lamentations 3:55-58 (NRSV)
55 I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; 56 you heard my plea, “Do not close your ear to my cry for help, but give me relief!” 57 You came near when I called on you; you said, “Do not fear!” 58 You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life.
Lament – it’s a term we don’t use much in our culture and society today. After all, it has a rather sad and negative kind of sound to our ears. It suggests grieving and sorrow. It’s not something we like to dwell on. And yet, in the midst of difficult, sometimes overwhelming circumstances, it offers a way to “let it out,” to get some things off our chest that concern us, to bring them before God, in sorrow, in perplexity, in wonder; as well as in trust and in hope.
So the writer of this passage has (previous to these verses) brought his concerns, his fears and anxieties, before God in search of answers, of direction, of strength, of resolution to those fears and anxieties. At the same time, he can say, “you heard my plea … you came near when I called on you … O Lord, you have redeemed my life.” Perhaps this is as good time in our lives for some lament, for voicing our anxieties and fears to God, knowing – in our Baptismal promises – that God does hear us, does come near to us, and will carry us through – redeem our lives – in the love and mercy of our Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Hymn for Reflection:
“Abide With Me” (ELW #629)
“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
– Psalm 30:5 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter for our elderly friends at Senior Star (there’s a bin in the breezeway where you can place them) – or for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Daneilson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery.
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork – for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Sign up to ring the church bells to send the message to our community that God is with us in the midst of this time, and that we at Messiah are praying for those who are affected, and for an end to the pandemic.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!