In the past week’s meditations we have looked at reasons for inexplicable hope in God’s promises. We’ve seen the examples of Jeremiah and Lazarus. We’ve been challenged to participate in bringing and being hope to people in need. We’ve been reminded that our security is not in material possessions but in eternal things. And we’ve been encouraged to remember that the home we all hope for is found in God.

Today’s reading gives us more reasons for hope. Listen to these incredible promises made to all who have made their home in God. To believers, God says, I “will rescue . . . protect . . . answer . . . deliver . . . and honor” you. And if that isn’t enough, God also adds, “With long life I will satisfy [you].”

But while we have basked in the wonders of hope this week, it is also important to say what hope is not. It is not the belief that everything is or will be fine. Everywhere we look we see suffering and despair. Whether on a global, local, or personal scale, we often feel as if we’re hurtling toward some imminent catastrophe. The things we see as fundamental to our identity may be gone or quickly fading away. We may feel we are being enveloped in darkness.

What do we do in days like these? How do we find courage to hope? How do we respond to the darkness? In the shadow of despair, we are to turn toward the darkness of this world with God’s light of love. As we work to bring hope for those in despair we will find our own darkness turning to light. When we dare to give our lives for others of God’s people, we find we are moving closer to God, in whom our hope has always been grounded.

Lord God, especially in dark times, may we turn again to each other and to you as we recognize the singular gifts of our lives that call us toward hope. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 16:19-31

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Lectionary Week
September 23–29, 2019
Scripture Overview

While Jeremiah is in prison, God tells him to buy a field. This transaction shows that in the future life will return to normal. It is an “enactment prophecy,” where a prophecy is given through actions instead of just words. The psalmist rejoices in the protection that God provides to the faithful. God is a fortress, a covering, and a shield. Paul admonishes his readers not to fall into materialism. The love of money, not money itself, is the root of all kinds of evil, and those obsessed with it build their hopes on shifting sands. Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who has fallen into that very trap. Only after death, when it is too late, does he realize his mistake.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. How do you live as if God’s promises were already true?
Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16. How do you turn toward God with hope in times of darkness?
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Whether you have few or many possessions, how do they get in the way of your following Jesus?
Read Luke 16:19-31. God knows each of us by name. Do you know the names of the persons in your community who have obvious or internal unmet needs?

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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