A church building in the center of a South African city had to be pulled down because its structure had become unsafe. It was a sad day, as countless preachers had proclaimed the good news of Jesus from its pulpit, and thousands of people over the years had worshiped there.

Thousands of years earlier, and for very different reasons, an invading army destroyed the Jerusalem Temple. The destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple saddens the psalmist, but the death and devastation the Babylonians leave in their wake deeply troubles the psalmist. This destruction challenges the faith of the people of Jerusalem. Yet in the midst of all that happens to the people of Judah, the psalmist turns to God. In the eyes of the psalmist and the people, the Temple is God’s domain and the people who have died are God’s people. The taunts and jeers of Jerusalem’s neighbors humiliate the psalmist even further.

The destruction of God’s creation by war and the desire of a few for power over the earth likewise challenge our faith today. We, like Jeremiah, may wonder whether any medicine can bring healing and wholeness to our broken world. In this world of warfare, terrorism, and persecution we can follow the psalmist’s example and turn to God.

The world’s suffering and brokenness challenges our faith. We search after a solution to our problems. Yet even as we search, we know that the solution to the world’s problems and our own difficulties lies in our relationship with God.

God of love, we come to you in the midst of the brokenness in the world and the brokenness in our own life. We seek your guidance and love. Hear us and build up our faith. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 16:1-13

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Lectionary Week
September 16–22, 2019
Scripture Overview

The “weeping prophet” grieves for the plight of his people. They have provoked God’s judgment by following foreign gods, and now there is no comfort to be found. The psalmist cries out to God from a similar situation of despair. Foreign nations have overrun the land, destroyed Jerusalem, and killed many of its people. The psalmist cries out to God for compassion and restoration. The author of First Timothy gives his readers two commands. They should pray for and honor their leaders, and they should be faithful to the one true God, with whom they have a relationship through Christ Jesus. Jesus in Luke tells a strange parable about a dishonest manager who is commended for his shrewd business sense, but Jesus turns his story to a teaching about good stewardship.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. When have you called out to God in your distress?
Read Psalm 79:1-9. As you search after a solution to life’s problems, how do you demonstrate God’s call to love and to justice?
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7. How do you pray for your local, state or province, and national leaders with whom you agree? with whom you disagree?
Read Luke 16:1-13. How do you negotiate the complexities of Jesus’ call to be a good steward of your resources as you seek to serve God rather than money?

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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