Reconciliation sometimes comes only with persistence, but that does not mean belligerence. Rather, it is an unwavering dedication to the new path of righteousness. Often people are not ready to receive an apology or participate in the process of reconciliation; they are hurt and need to heal. Only with the constant display of new understanding can they risk accepting a new relationship.
When we look for signs of reconciliation, we can easily become discouraged. Our world is tumbling through ecological collapse while we labor under corrupt hierarchies, look for hope amid broken families, strive for justice with governments that cage other human beings, and keep the faith of God’s love in the face of churches that preach hate. Reconciliation sometimes seems hopeless. But if we dare to walk this path, we will find that Jesus has cleared it and walked ahead of us.
The request for bread and forgiveness of debts is not merely metaphorical; they are the difference between life and death. Never forget that the everyday reality of Jesus of Nazareth was a world of domination and deprivation.
In today’s scripture Jesus reminds us that we must press on, steadfast and unwavering. We must dedicate ourselves to justice, mercy, and love. When we pray for the earth to be as it is in heaven or for our debts to be forgiven as we forgive, we are not reciting a line that requires nothing of us. We are committing our entire lives to God’s work.
As we dedicate ourselves and do the work day by day, we will see the Spirit working alongside us. When we keep seeking the new world, we will find it in the most unlikely places.
Creator of all life, justice, and a way forward, give us bread for today and the strength to create a system that forgives debts so that our children may be fed tomorrow. Amen.
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.
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.
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