Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
Yesterday we met for worship online again. Yes, I look forward to the day we can gather in the sanctuary once more. I miss you! I believe that collectively we long for a time to worship. As of this writing, 283 people tuned in to our worship service yesterday to sing, "Praise the Lord, O my soul!" This internet number doesn't include the desire to worship by those who do not have internet who started their day with the Upper Room devotional and prayer. It doesn't include those who were working at stores, in hospitals, or driving ambulances who pray without ceasing as they interact with people in need. Psalm 146 can be a reminder of our love of and our need for worship and praise. I imagine there are many reasons people love to worship. But perhaps these verses from Psalm 146 begin to get at the essence:
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
What do you love about worship? How has worship strengthened you during this time apart?
In the center of Isaiah 59 that grieves injustice and laments transgressions, there is a phrase that might catch our eye these days. "We all growl like bears." Watch what happens when there is one last package of toilet paper at the store. When four people come together to claim it for themselves, you will get the sense that bears are growling. We growl like bears when we are tired and frustrated. We growl like bears when we are afraid. Isaiah writes that God understands. God takes up the cause of the suffering and becomes the champion for the oppressed. What has made you impatient, upset, angry, or scared these days? Have you noticed yourself growling? How might you put that feeling in prayer?
It seems we have been focusing on transformation lately. God is changing us in this season of Lent. God is transforming us in the face of the challenges of the day. God has done it before. Look at the life of Saul. He once fought with all his might against the gospel. Then, God changed his heart and his name. God transformed Saul into Paul right before our eyes. And with his new wings, he took flight with his faith in Jesus Christ. What are the ways you have experienced God changing your life? Can you imagine what God might still have in store for you?