There is none like you among the gods, O LORD,” the psalmist sings in today’s passage. The God we serve is radically different from all other gods and Caesars and idols. Instead of favoring the strong and mighty, our God chooses the outcasts and underdogs. Instead of demanding perfection, our...

God of the marginalized and homeless like Hagar, God of the disinherited like Ishmael, God of the underdogs like David, God of ordinary workers like the disciples, God of all with sullied backgrounds like Paul, God of the desert and valley and wilderness, God of inclusion and emancipation, God of second, third, and fourth chances, God of liberation, Your steadfast love endures throughout the ages. You show up for us again and again and remind us that we are never beyond your care. Teach us to channel the gratitude we feel into love for others and a suffering world. Help us plant seeds of your upside-down kin-dom in the here and now, trusting in the day the harvest will come. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
June 19–25, 2023
Scripture Overview

The story of Hagar and Ishmael being cast out from Abraham’s house reminds us that even when we are in our darkest hour, God doesn’t abandon us. God is faithful and meets us in the wilderness. The psalmist calls out to God from a place of desperation, yet even in desperation, there is confident hope in God. Paul reminds us that as Christians, we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ. The powers of sin and death no longer have the final say over our lives. Jesus teaches us that discipleship will not be easy, but that God’s care for us is great. It is only when we’re willing to lose our lives that we will find them.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Genesis 21:8-21. Consider a time you’ve excluded someone. What do you wish you would have done differently? How might a daily Examen practice help you right the wrongs you caused or learn from your mistakes?
Read Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17. In what ways do you need God’s help in your life today? Consider writing a prayer to more deeply connect with God about your needs.
Read Romans 6:1b-11. Consider the author’s question “What does freedom from sin look like?”
Read Matthew 10:24-39. In what ways have you become too comfortable in your discipleship? Where is God calling you to be more faithful?

Respond by posting a prayer.