I’ve never cared that much about heaven. I don’t follow Jesus in order to guarantee my reservation for the hereafter. I’m not faithful so that when I die I’ll go to Paradise by and by. Heaven is not the carrot on the stick or the reward for running the race or the moment of great vindication against my enemies. “The Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada” says, “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.” That is enough for me. In fact, it is more than enough.
Paul calls to mind the strong connection of our present reality with the past. He links himself with the psalmist when he states the following: “I believed, and so I spoke,” a direct pickup from the Psalms. We have the strong foundation of faith with an added promise: “The one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also.” We will be brought into God’s presence.
We can live in this promise now. We don’t have to wait until death. I have experienced sustenance in the midst of great loss. I have received courage to start again after an experience of shaming failure. I have been freed of old hurts through the gift of forgiving others.
God’s grace isn’t a bridge across troubled water. We don’t get to avoid painful plunges. Yet God’s grace is with us in the depths of suffering. God’s grace is our breath when life crushes breath out of us. God’s grace encourages us to surface from our “momentary afflictions[s]” and place our trust in what is not visible to the eye, that which is eternal. Therefore, “we do not lose heart.”

Thank you, God, for giving us a light that cannot be extinguished and a hope that cannot be vanquished. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 3:20-35

2 Comments
Log In to leave a comment
Lectionary Week
June 4–10, 2018
Scripture Overview

We sometimes struggle to believe in the power of a God we cannot see. The psalmist declares that God is greater than any earthly king and will preserve us in the face of our enemies. However, in the time of Samuel, the Israelites demanded a human king to lead them into battle, as other nations had. God was not enough for them. Paul admonishes the Corinthians not to repeat this mistake. We should not think that what we can see is the ultimate reality. What we see is temporary; what cannot be seen is eternal. Perhaps Jesus is teaching a similar idea in this somewhat troubling passage in Mark. Jesus is not against family, but he is emphasizing that human families are temporary; spiritual family is eternal.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 8:4-20. How influenced by culture and neigh-
bors are you? How do you attempt to keep your priorities aligned with God’s reign?
• Read Psalm 138. How do you evaluate the “gods” in your life? How do you recognize when those gods have gained control of your life?
• Read 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1. When life’s circumstances over-
whelm you, how do you avoid losing heart?
• Read Mark 3:20-35. Who is your spiritual family? Whom do you identify as your brothers, sisters, mother and father?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”


Click here to learn more about our newest Advent book and eCourse.