If you, like me, dedicate your early morning to prayer and meditation, then you are reading this less than twenty-four hours after exiting your place of Sunday sabbath worship. I often walk out of our sanctuary with the Holy Spirit’s light shining brightly. Yet long-lamented Monday comes quickly, and I go back into a stormy world full throttle. My forgetfulness is the Light’s dimmer switch. I begin to wander into the awaiting wilderness willfully captive to material distractions, and I distance myself from God’s presence. If you are like me, we are like the Israelites. By midweek, we’ve hit the forget switch and—bam—we find ourselves in a figurative Babylon, exiled in a foreign culture.
One of my prayer and meditation practices has been to write on index cards selections of scripture that seem to speak to me personally. I keep a stack of them on the end table next to where I write devotions. Today’s verse is on a card in that stack. It has served me well, especially when I am writing for a deadline. My words drip onto the page at a trickle rate when I am not in concert with God’s will. When the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart are in sync with the gospel of Christ, the flood gates open and my words pour out.
In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, we hear at every meeting a reading of the 12 Steps. The eleventh step is this: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood him [sic], praying only for knowledge of his [sic] will for us and the power to carry that out.” This final verse of Psalm 19 is such a prayer. It is our supplication only to align with God’s will, for when we do it is pleasing in God’s sight.
God, may we go into this week with your light shining in our hearts. Amen.
How do we feel when we read the Word of God? The Israelites rejoice in God’s law. At the time of the restoration of Jerusalem after the return from exile, Ezra reads from the Law and explains its meaning to the people. They respond by holding a feast because understanding God’s teachings is a source of joy. The psalmist says that God’s law revives the soul, causes the heart to rejoice, and helps us to see clearly. Paul continues with his teaching on spiritual gifts, emphasizing that all members of the body of Christ have an important role. No one can claim to be any more important than anyone else. In Luke, Jesus reads from Isaiah and declares that his messianic ministry will focus on justice, mercy, and healing.
Read Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10. When has God’s word overwhelmed you? How did you react?
Read Psalm 19. How do you seek to speak or sing words acceptable to God? How does this shape your life?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a. Within the body of Christ, as within our human bodies, parts compensate for one another. How do you take on more to support the body of Christ when others struggle? How do you allow others to take on your roles when you struggle?
Read Luke 4:14-21. In what ways have you rejected Jesus?
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.”
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