April 14, 2019

DAY 40

"Morning on the Mount of Olives" by Andrew Langdal

For what else do we need to pray?

A Greeting
Great is your mercy, O God;
give me life according to your justice.
(Psalm 119:156)

A Reading
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany,
near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to
them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you
enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden;
untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing
this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here
immediately.” ’ They went away and found a colt tied near a door,
outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the
bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’
They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take
it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it;
and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and
others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then
those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and
when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late,
he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
(Mark 11:1-11)


Meditative Verse
Our feet are standing within your gates,
O Jerusalem.
(Psalm 122:2)

A Reflection
When fighting and death exercise their wild dominion
around us, then we are called to bear witness to God's love
and God's peace not only by word and thought, but also by
our deeds... We should daily ask ourselves where we can
bear witness in what we do to the kingdom in which love
and peace prevail. The great peace for which we long can
only grow again from peace between twos and threes. Let
us put an end to all hate, mistrust, envy, disquiet,
wherever we can. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called the children of God."
- from A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Daily Meditations from his Letters, Writings and Sermons

Verses for the Day
Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out
and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.
(Isaiah 51:4-5)

Image Source

At the end of her Saturday prayers each week, Bishop Susan Johnson asks, “for what else do we need to pray?” During the past five weeks we have journeyed through some of the most critical justice issues and crises of our time, and sadly, there is always more. There are more than forty ways that people suffer. This is why, as the bishop wrote in the Living Our Faith project, we can pray with the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Part of what we do in Lent is confront the brokenness of our world and ourselves, so that we are ready again to be reminded of the great gift of salvation, so that we can be returned to the hush of the waiting we do in Advent, and the anticipation of a new way of being so great that we all can be restored. But Lent reminds us that our job as followers of Jesus is not to have a rose-coloured glasses hope. Instead, we are called to grow in ourselves a deep faith in the capacity of humankind to overcome our worst brokenness. While it may seem as if we have failed in so many ways to truly care for each other and our planet, in the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg, “Homo sapiens has not yet failed. Yes we are failing but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.” While most of us don’t feel that we have what it takes to change the world, today’s song reminds us that doing “little things with great love” is always revolutionary. The stories of this project continue and we can continue to educate ourselves by listening to the prophets of our time who are trying to awaken us.
They show us what the realm of God looks like. “Each tear that falls is holy, each breaking heart a throne,” we hear in today’s song. “No simple act of mercy, escapes his watchful eye. For there is one who loves me, his hand is over mine.” As we take up our palms and walk into the crowds behind Jesus today, we carry with us the despair and hope of the prophets. We enter the Jerusalem of our own hearts with the knowledge that this is the one week of the year with the greatest capacity to transform us. We don’t leave the wilderness behind, we take it with us. And the good news is, we are not alone. Jesus leads us and follows us. He lives in the little things we do with great love. And he waits for us on the other side of the Cross. May the God of healing and of hope accompany you this week as you journey to the Cross and beyond. And may the transformative love of Jesus help us all to fill our world with grace however we can.

Have a blessed Holy Week! See you at Pentecost!

LC† Journey for Justice is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto,

supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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