Today is Friday, the twenty-sixth day of May, 2023, in the seventh week of Easter.
May the peace of the Lord be with you always.
My Wordle for today:
Wordle 706 4/6*
A bit better than the last two. My streak is at 47 days. Yesterday’s word was “bagel.”
How I feel today is hard to gauge. I think I feel better. I know I feel better than I did Wednesday, but around mid-afternoon, yesterday, I started feeling a little worse. The congestion shifted a bit, to my sinuses. Nevertheless, I do believe I feel well enough to sit at a desk in the computer center for eight hours, today.
That being said, I need to be there by 9:15, this morning, so I’d best get on to the important stuff. There was no baseball that matters to me, yesterday, so nothing to report, there.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
(Isaiah 12:3 NRSV)
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 13:52 NRSV)
Today I am grateful:
- for joy that transcends circumstances
- that I have drawn water from the wells of salvation
- for the gift of the Holy Spirit
- that all are one, all are equal under the blood of Christ
- for the light of faith that guides us through this life
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:3 NRSV)
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for wanting to give us happiness and for holding our earthly life firmly in your hands. May we have the confidence that we are in your hands. Grant us the light of faith. Let this light of faith guide us in material things and help us to wait in patience until the doors open for us to pass through according to your pleasure. So bless us all. Bless our life. May we grow joyful and free of heart through all that Jesus Christ gives. On the foundation he establishes for us may your divine working, your fatherly love, lift and support us throughout our lives. Amen.
Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD; give praise, O servants of the LORD, you that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for he is gracious. (Psalms 135:1-3 NRSV)
I say to the LORD, "You are my God; give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications." (Psalms 140:6 NRSV)
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. (Psalms 97:9 NRSV)
Then everyone will fear; they will tell what God has brought about, and ponder what he has done. (Psalms 64:9 NRSV)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
"Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen." (The Divine Hours)
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
(Luke 10:29 NRSV)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NRSV)
and [Peter] said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.”
(Acts 10:28 NRSV)
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 NRSV)
When the lawyer in Luke 10 asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” it is said that he was trying to justify himself. In other words, he was hoping Jesus’s answer would make him feel good about himself.
Too often, we are just like that lawyer. We want to point to our “good works” and pat ourselves on the back. We’ve done a pretty good job, we think.
But then Jesus answered with that parable. You know the one. We call it “The Good Samaritan.” Growing up in Sunday School, I always thought that Samaritan we a pretty good guy and that we should all love him and be like him. And that’s not wrong.
But we weren’t given the whole story, back in Sunday School, just like we weren’t given the whole story about what a reprehensible jerk Samson was. Heh. You see, when Jesus made the Samaritan the hero in this parable, he stuck a knife in the backs of the Jews and twisted it.
The Jews hated the Samaritans, and that’s putting it mildly.
The priest and the Levite, both groups of people who should eagerly show compassion, crossed over to the other side of the street so they wouldn’t have to deal with the person who had been beaten and robbed. But the Samaritan . . . the one who was fully aware of how Jews felt about him, was the one who was “neighborly.”
It’s just a parable, you know. Not a true story (in spite of the fact that there are “ultra-fundamentalists” who believe that all of Jesus’s parables were true, otherwise Jesus would have been telling lies). But it illustrates the point.
Our “neighbor” just might be someone who doesn’t like us. Or someone that we don’t like. Our “neighbor” at any given moment, is the person who needs us most. And that is the person whom we are to love as we love ourselves. After, of course, we love the Lord with all of our being.
So who is your neighbor?
Father, thank You for the parables of Jesus and the truths that they represent and teach. Help us to learn from them. Help us to truly be followers of Christ and obey His commands to love You with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Help us to not make distinctions between people, just as You do not. Help us to live under the truth that, under the blood of Christ, all are equal.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.
May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Grace and peace, friends.