Daily Devotions are published Tuesday-Saturday during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Psalms 92, 149, 23, 114
Leviticus 23: 23 – 44
II Thessalonians 3:1-18
Matthew 7:13 – 21
In previous attempts at writing devotions, I would read all the passages in the lectionary to find a common underlying theme around which to construct my comments. But when I read the lectionary for today, and I could find no common theme.
The Psalms include the familiar comfort of the 23rd Psalm, but the other Psalms are just similar calls to praise God for His great works in giving Israel victory and vindication against their enemies. The passage from Leviticus provides directions for the three great Festivals surrounding the Day of Atonement, giving the days of each festival, when to fast, and when to give burnt offerings. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, asks for their prayers so that he may quickly spread the Word and be rescued from evil persons blocking his work. But more than half of the passage deals with fellow members who do not work, living off the generosity of others. Finally, the passage from Matthew includes three brief snippets from the early teaching of Jesus: the wide gate and easy road lead to destruction, but the gate to life is narrow and few find it; beware of false prophets, know them by their fruit; beware of self-deception.
All the words seem haphazard, unconnected, confusing, irrelevant to a world none of us have seen before. However, in such an unfamiliar place, what is needed is not an overarching idea, but signposts to keep us on a path we cannot see. We need to remember that God has done great things for us in the past, that our ceremonies and traditions describe our values and tell us who we are as people. We need to remember to pray for leaders, to gently guide each other so all can fit in and contribute. Finally, we need to remember that the unknown is always hard, that in crises not everyone is honest, and even we may be wrong.
Dear God, we ask again that you continue to be our strength and our support in times of stress and uncertainty. May we always remember that although we are weak and temporary, you are there forever. We are able to see little, and understand less, but your promise is eternal. Amen.