People lose jobs, accidents happen, loved ones die. The wicked seem to prosper, and sometimes life is downright scary. Many psalms give the psalmist voice as he tells God his problems.
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me! (The Message)
During the seven weeks between my mother’s cancer diagnosis and her death, I found it hard to know what to pray for. She was seventy-two, had just returned from a camping trip, and lived a healthy lifestyle. “God has been with me through all the hard times in my life,” she told us in the moments after her doctor gave the dire prognosis, “and I trust God to be with me through this too.” Her positive attitude set the tone for how we as a family spent those precious days.
“Don’t you want a miracle?” people asked me. Though I wanted my mother to live, she helped me see that a miracle of a different sort was happening: She was enjoying her final days, and our family was brought even closer in her illness. She did not perceive her impending death as a failure of God’s power but as a sign of God’s work even in difficult times. She chose “God, shepherd me home” as her breath prayer, and the psalmist’s words made sense to her:
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Who am I? A person who rests safely in God’s arms.

What have been the hardest obstacles you have faced in your life? Give thanks for how God worked and is working in your life, on good days and bad.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 24:36-48

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Lectionary Week
April 9–15, 2018
Scripture Overview

A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Acts 3:12-19. When have you initially bristled at someone’s remarks only to discover some truth about yourself as you reflected on your strong reaction? What did you learn about yourself?
• Read Psalm 4. How do you daily reinforce the idea that you are “more” rather than “less”?
• Read 1 John 3:1-7. When have you been an “upstander” for love on behalf of another? In what ways did that empower you to take more initiative to love?
• Read Luke 24:36b-48. To what do you look as a revelation of Christ’s presence?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.