Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 88; 148, Judges 5:1-18, Acts 2:1-21, Matthew 28:1-10
“You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a thing of horror to them.” – Psalm 88:8
What a jarring statement, to declare oneself a horror to companions and neighbors. Sadly, we can all relate. When we experience an extended personal crisis – a divorce, a job loss, an illness – most of us reach a point where we suspect family and friends must be weary of hearing about it. We notice (or imagine) that people have begun to avoid us. Whatever the situation, even when we feel most alone, God is with us. Like the psalmist, we may feel God’s face is hidden. When that happens, we may need to use prayers like sledgehammers to batter down the barrier a crisis erects between us and God.
And when the tables are turned? Do our neighbors in crisis ever become horrors to us? We grow tired of hearing the minutia of Bill’s family court drama. We have to drag ourselves to the bedside of a formerly vivacious friend we weep to see wasting away. Some days we simply aren’t up to the task. But on better days we honor the Christ of the cross – who had become a physical and social horror to his friends and loved ones – by seeing his face where people suffer. We all know someone who lends the ear, takes someone to chemotherapy, or bakes the casserole. Maybe we are that someone.
If you are that someone, let people who still struggle to serve others know you don’t have superpowers – you rely on the Lord for strength. If you are not that someone and find yourself struggling to serve, understand that you are more capable than you realize. None of us wants to share disease or loss any more than we want to experience it, but we do so because love calls us to. When we serve each other with love, no one – no matter how awful their situation – is a “thing of horror” to God. Each of us is a child of God in need. Let’s not be put off by a matter of degree.
Comfort: God loves us as a child, regardless of circumstance.
Challenge: If you find it easy to serve others, offer to help someone who struggles. If you struggle, find and work with someone who finds it easy.
Prayer: God of strength, I will serve you by serving others. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever felt like a “thing of horror?”
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