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This passage from Matthew’s Gospel finds Jesus back in Jerusalem in the last week of his life. He has cleansed the Temple (21:12-17), cursed a fig tree (21:18-22), confronted those who questioned his authority (21:23-27), and recounted parables (21:28-33; 22:1-14). He is then confronted by Pharisees who attempt to entrap...
Spend some time today examining the ways you live out your values. To what do you give the greatest commitment of time? money? attention? worry? Based on these commitments, what image is written on your heart? What are the things you are holding that need to be surrendered to God? What would it mean if you gave to God all of yourself?
Popular images often portray God as a passive grandfather figure. However, this is not the picture scripture provides. God’s presence has a profound impact on the physical world. In Exodus, Moses feels insecure about the calling on his life and asks to see God’s glory. God in part grants this request, but no one can experience the presence of God completely and live. The psalmist describes how God is exalted and how God’s holiness shakes the earth itself. The New Testament readings explore different themes. Paul opens his letter to the Thessalonians by commending them for their faith and partnership in the spreading of the gospel. In Matthew, the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus in his words, yet he confounds their efforts.
Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you struggled to believe that God is with you? How did you find a sign of God’s presence?
Read Psalm 99. How has God heard your cry? How can you listen with God for the cries of others?
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. When does your faith call you to live in a countercultural way? How do you show the world how to live?
Read Matthew 22:15-22. You belong to God. How do you feel God’s call on your life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”