Did it ever occur to you to wonder about the weather on that first Easter morning? I don’t know why but it has loomed large in my consciousness these past few days.
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. - Luke 24:1
There is a kind of desperate usualness about this early morning journey. The women had not had time to do their part and they are doggedly fulfilling it. There is nothing to say, just the quiet that lets them listen to the bird song and the rustle of the breeze in the trees. And then, an empty tomb! Their stunned silence is broken by an angelic message, “Remember how he told you…” and their faith is renewed. He is risen as He said!
In prayer let us echo the joy of these women as a new chapter opens in their lives. There is good news to share with all who will listen. We are blessed to be among those who have heard.
But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. - Luke 23:49
This is a quiet day, a day when the first disciples clung to each other in bewilderment and disbelief. He was gone and what were they to do? This is probably a day of self-accusation and of remorse. So many of them had failed so badly. What could it all mean? Will they be the next to die? It is easy to identify with them since we have all had times of not knowing what will come next.
In prayer, let us ask for the courage to stand firm in times of doubt and disbelief.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” - Luke 23:34
As we stand on Calvary and hear these words wrung from the dying Jesus, what do we hear? Do we hear the culmination of the forgiveness He has preached wherever He has gone? Do we hear an invitation to bring our hearts to this sacred site? Do we hear a challenge to offer His words to others who have wounded us?
Let us listen to what we hear from the lips of Jesus.
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.”
- Luke 22:17-18
With what emotion Jesus must have passed this final cup among His family of disciples. He has taught about the Kingdom; He has prepared them for its coming and now He reminds them of the deep significance of this sharing. It is not just about remembering God’s past goodness, but something profoundly important is being inaugurated this evening.
In prayer let us take our places at that table with those closest to Jesus. What might we learn?
Do you also wish to go away? - John 7:67
Jesus is human and He is sad when there are disciples who can no longer follow because the road is too hard. As we approach the climax of His ministry, we could well use His question to examine our discipleship.
In prayer, let us honestly make our choice and answer Jesus with the reasons for our decision.
Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? - Luke 17:17
Jesus wants our gratitude for His gifts to us. This accusation against the missing healed lepers should awaken a response in our hearts. We are so eager to ask. Do we always remember to acknowledge God’s answer?
May our prayers this day be ones of gratitude for these blessed weeks we have spent together.
From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. - Luke 12:48
These are sobering words to begin this important week. We believers have indeed been given so much in terms of knowledge and of grace. Have we given back as true disciples should? Have we deepened our prayer life this Lent? We still have time to reflect and to pray as we approach the holiest of days.
Our prayer has to be one of both thanksgiving and of offering ourselves as disciples.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! - Mathew 23:37
As Jesus prepares to enter His city, He must have stood on the opposite hilltop and looked at its walls shining in the sunlight, and wept. This is a day for Him of such mixed emotions. The cheering crowds (what do they want from Him?), the city which has so opposed His teachings and yet which houses the hopes of Israel, and the very stones of the streets which have welcomed centuries of earnest pilgrims – it all coalesces on this spring morning.
Let us match our steps to the slow plodding of the donkey as it comes into this city of history about to add the most important of its chapters.
So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God. - Luke 12:21
This sad verse concludes the parable of the rich fool, the man who kept piling up wealth and feeling that nothing more was asked of him. His sudden death put a new light on his barns of unused grain. Have we some “wealth” to share? Are there helpful words still unsaid, outstretched hands we have ignored, sad hearts we could comfort? There is still time to open our “storage bins” to others.
May we reflect in prayer on what we still might do for Jesus who has done so much for us.
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. - Luke 11:28
This awkward translation should be rendered something like “More blessed”. A woman is praising the work of Jesus in typical Middle Eastern fashion by naming the mother who gave Him birth. Jesus seizes the moment to say that obeying God is more important than familial origin. He is not dispraising His mother. She was the first to hear God’s word and so to give us the example of discipleship. Jesus wants us to know how important listening to God is.
Our Lenten journey is summed up in this word for today. Let us contemplate it.
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. - Luke 8:39
This cured man has asked to follow Jesus as part of the band of disciples, but Jesus has other ideas. He tells him to be an apostle there where he is and to tell his story of God’s goodness to him, as an individual. This is what it means to be a Christian. One has met Jesus and has a story to narrate. Jesus is real and has touched a life with grace. What is being modeled here is the best of the life of faith. It has to be something we are bursting to share with those to whom we are closest. That is where we begin.
In prayer let us ask the grace to do what Jesus is asking.
He said to them, “Where is your faith?” - Luke 8:25
Here we are with that troublesome issue of faith again. This is a profoundly important question. Where is our faith? In whom or in what have we placed it? We have all had troublesome moments of a faith in technology that has failed us; in other human beings who do not come through when we most need them; in our own strength which proves inadequate... We can each add to this list.
In prayer let us ask: where should we place our faith?
Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given... - Luke 8:18
Look carefully at these words. Jesus is telling us that there is both power and blessing in listening. Few of us are really good at it. We listen until we find something either to object to or to amplify, and we then begin composing our response. At least, I know that I often do that. If we listened fully, there might be no need of our answer.
Shall we pray for the grace to become better listeners and for the strength to practice this.
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” - Luke 7:50
While these particular words are addressed to a sinful woman who comes to Jesus in her desperation, they also appear in other contexts. Jesus seems to love it when people come to Him because they trust that He will help them. Their confidence is rewarded. It is almost as if He is saying, “You didn’t need me in person. You just needed to believe and it has happened.” Faith, that wonderfully active verb in Hebrew, is a vital component of every spiritual journey. Let’s work on that today.
May we, in prayer, ask for the grace to make our faith active and vital, the kind of faith that Jesus loved to find.
Why do you call me “Lord, Lord” and do not do what I tell you? - Luke 6:46
This is a Sunday wake-up call from Jesus. He does not want mouths that say all the right things, unless the actions follow through. In our world of fluid words we might forget that ultimately they are not what counts. It is what we do that has meaning and impact.
Let us in our prayer seek today to know how to answer Jesus.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. - Luke 6:31
Easy, isn’t it? Or is it? This Golden Rule is so succinctly expressed that it slides right across our mental mindset. Let us stop and consider each phrase and then ask ourselves: when was the last time I lived one day by its command. How about now?
Our prayer today has to be for the courage to follow what Jesus is asking.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
- Luke 4:18
If Jesus had had a slogan for His ministry, this would be it. This is the rallying cry that lies at the heart of His message. The poor, those cast aside in His world as clearly sinners in need of repentance, are here claimed by Him as worthy of hearing the good news that is His gospel. They are not to be left out.
Does this declaration make any claims upon me?
Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s.” - Matthew 22:21
There is a daily wrestling in this word of Jesus. No Christian can live apart from civil government, but no citizen controls it. We have yet to find the perfect middle ground, but Jesus, in so responding to a critic, is telling us that we live in a real world and that we must be part of this struggle to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom and of an earthly realm as well.
I will pray this day to better understand what my citizenship asks of me as a believer.
But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking...” - Matthew 20:22
This would be a perfect phrase to glue over our prayer corners! We so often come to prayer with a neat list of exactly what God should do to make our lives perfect. When He doesn’t do that we moan, “God didn’t hear my prayer.” Of course, He did, He just did not say “yes” to everything we wanted. With our limited vision, we do not see too far down the road. God often has other ideas.
May we pray this day for the grace to accept God’s answers to our prayer “suggestions”.
Sister Carol Perry
A gifted teacher and Bible Scholar, Sister Carol uses her extensive scholarship and imaginative storytelling skills to offer a fresh and innovative approach to exploring the Scriptures, bringing the stories of the Bible to life.
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