Imagine what life would be like if your family and friends were either killed in warfare, or taken into captivity far from home. Imagine a ruthless, brutal occupying army taking over and controlling everything you own and everything around you. Imagine a time when all worship to which we are accustomed is outlawed. This is the situation in today’s First Reading, Lamentations 3:22-33.
In the First Reading the people of God have broken the covenant with God. Time after time the Lord sent prophets to call people back to Himself, but the vast majority refused, and turned to sin. Finally, God fulfilled His warnings and sent the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem, the Temple, and to exact punishment on His people. The book of Lamentations is the lament of a faithful follower of the Lord in the face such terrible heartache and tragedy. If you read the book, you too will feel the suffering and pain of the poet. Yet, in the midst of all of the terror and grief which surrounds him, Jeremiah cries out with hope and assurance – the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. Then we see Jeremiah waiting in hope for the Lord to act. And the Lord did act; at the right time, many decades later, the Lord sent Cyrus of Persia to destroy Babylon and allow His people to return home.
These words of Jeremiah are often turned to by the people of God in the midst of horrible grief and heartache. God will rescue. God will restore. God will renew. This is as sure as the resurrection of Jesus, the One through Whom God will do all these things. Trust Him and wait for His actions.
Holy Spirit, in the midst of hardship and heartache, remind us again that Your steadfast love never ceases, Your mercies never come to an end, that they are new every day. Remind us that as Jesus has died and is risen, so You raise up hope and new life in us through Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
Today’s Psalm is Psalm 30. As usual, the psalm ties in closely with the First Reading. In the psalm, the psalmist has experienced a life-threatening situation, but the Lord has rescued him. His response? PRAISE! In Christ, death and destruction have been turned away from us. Our response? Thanksgiving and praise!
Holy Lord, all thanks and praise to You for rescuing us and restoring us in Jesus. Let us always trust in Your steadfast love and mercy. Through Jesus we pray. Amen.
In the Second Reading, 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15, the apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians that they have promised to provide aid to Christians in Judea who were experiencing hardship. Paul tells them of the Macedonians who gave freely and abundantly to help those in need. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to fulfill their pledge and to give generously for the needs of the saints in and around Jerusalem. Paul reminds them that they have been blessed, and that they are called to be a blessing.
May we also share of the blessings of God with others.
Lord God, as You have blessed us, so enable us to share Your blessings with others so that they will give You thanks and praise. Amen.
Hopelessness to help; this is thread that permeates today’s Gospel, Mark 5:21-43. First Jesus is approached by a father whose daughter is dying – hurry and heal her is the parent’s plea! Jesus immediately sets out. While He is hurrying to the man’s house, a woman sneaks up behind Him, a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years, and who is ritually unclean, and so should not touch Jesus; yet, she is desperate and only has one hope – JESUS! As soon as she touches Him, she knows in her body that she has been healed. Jesus also knows that a healing has taken place and demands to know who touched Him. The woman is terrified, but reveals the whole story. Jesus’ response? Compassion and blessing. She is whole because of Jesus.
All of this has taken time, too much time, and the little girl dies before Jesus can arrive. The by-standers’ response: don’t bother Jesus any more, it is too late. But it is never too late with Jesus, He will not be deterred, even by death. He goes to the bedside of the little girl, and raises her to life (one of three raising back to life Jesus accomplishes). This miracle is a foreshadowing of His own resurrection, a resurrection which is the first of the resurrection to eternal life, a resurrection which is given to us by grace through faith as He joins us to Himself in Baptism. Let us trust the Lord for the resurrection He gives in Christ.
Holy God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so often we face what seem to be hopelessness and helplessness, but with You all things are possible. Bring life into the areas of our lives that are in despair and pain, bring us to life in Jesus. Amen.