What drives us? What motivates us to take up the path of reconciliation and turn our hearts toward this difficult and holy calling? The answer is almost always the suffering of those we harm, of ourselves, of those we are close to, or simply of the world at large. When we witness suffering, we see the world as it is and not as we wish it to be. In that moment we are invited to join the work of reconciliation.

Suffering highlights the necessity of action, healing, and renewal. But instead of that renewal, we often turn to pity or paralysis. Rather than doing the deep introspection and hard work of self-analysis and redemption, we simply ask God to “turn us.” But what good is pity or paralysis? Whom does it serve? It is cheap grace for an oppressor to sob over the realization of wrongdoing without embracing true transformation.

Pity tempts us with easy emotion rather than difficult growth. Paralysis tempts us with “not making things worse” instead of the transformative work of making things better.

We all like to downplay the ways we contribute to a world where evil holds sway; it can be overwhelming to recognize exactly how broken our world’s systems are. Yet, as Christians, we simply cannot ignore our calling to participate in the redemption of all creation. We know we cannot fix all wrongs, but we are called to action. Reconciliation is an active process; we must enter into it as such.

How have I avoided actions I knew to be necessary? How can I change my inaction into a positive, loving response when faced with this choice again?

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 11:1-13

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Lectionary Week
July 18–24, 2022
Scripture Overview

Hosea can be a difficult book with troublesome metaphors. This prophet is called to live with an unfaithful wife as an image of how Israel is unfaithful to God. Yet even in this initial statement of judgment, God includes a promise of restoration. Psalm 85 appeals to God’s steadfast love. God has become angry with the people for their unfaithfulness, and the people appeal for God’s mercy, which they are confident they will receive. The Colossians reading warns against replacing or even supplementing the simple truth of the gospel with human wisdom, religious rules, or anything else. We have fellowship with Christ through our faith. Jesus teaches us to ask God for what we need and for what we want just as we would ask a human parent.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Hosea 1:2-10. How is God reminding you of your covenant relationship?
Read Psalm 85. When have you needed to pray for restoration in your life, in your relationships with the wider community, or in your relationship with God?
Read Colossians 2:6-19. Paul teaches us the value of community. How can you help make the community more just?
Read Luke 11:1-13. How has praying regularly changed you? If you do not pray regularly, start a practice now. Look for the ways it changes you.

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”


Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.