There are troubling words in Psalm 50: “Before [God] is a devouring fire.” For months in 2020, we watched as Australia burned. The Australian wildfires covered an area twice the size of the state of Maryland. My mind could not comprehend the destruction on this scale. The news of this and other natural disasters overwhelmed me. I found myself turning away, averting my gaze from the overwhelming challenges that we face.

We are bound together on this earth as one people created by the Holy One. Our psalm names us as “faithful ones, who made a covenant with me.” We are the creatures fashioned in the image of God, set as caretakers over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. (See Genesis 1:26-31.)

And yet it seems that we have not upheld our part of this contract. We have used the earth and its resources in ways that threaten the future of life on this planet. Growing climate change is producing catastrophe—droughts and fires, rain and flooding, the melting of the polar caps and rising oceans. Often these days, I find myself paralyzed by fear for our future.

In Psalm 50, we find God arriving as a judge, ready to hold court with the heavens and earth as witnesses. I imagine this statement from the Creator, “Human ones, I gave you dominion over the earth and all its creatures. You have taken all that you wanted and left brokenness. I made covenant with you and you have broken my trust.”

What is our reply to these charges? How will we respond in this time of crisis? May our hearts and lives be transformed by God in these days of challenge.

God of creation, we have failed to be stewards of this earth. Guide us in this time of chaos. Show us the individual actions we can take to help heal the world. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 9:2-9

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Lectionary Week
February 8–14, 2021
Scripture Overview

In the week leading to Transfiguration Sunday, the texts all deal with holy, transforming light; but they also speak to the awkwardness of waiting for and finally experiencing that light. Elisha’s is a stop-and-go pilgrimage before he sees the chariots of fire. The psalmist proclaims the march of the sun across the sky while also waiting for the eschatological arrival of God’s justice for God’s people. Paul empathizes with the believers in Corinth who are having to wait and work to “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountain where they wait and are terrified by the cloud of glory that overshadows them.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 2 Kings 2:1-12. Think of a time when you waited for a blessing from God. How did the waiting feel? How did you experience the blessing when it came?
Read Psalm 50:1-6. What helps you to be aware of God’s presence with you from “the rising of the sun to its setting” each day?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. What are the areas of your life where God is shining a light? Are there any areas where you may be blind to the light?
Read Mark 9:2-9. Identify a spiritual “mountaintop experience” you have had. What was the lasting impact of that experience on your life as a follower of Christ?

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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