Call to Worship The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to His children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. Psalm 103:6-13
Contemplation Our failure to lament cuts us off from the heart of Jesus, Man of Sorrow, and it also cuts us off from each other. If we are to love one another as Jesus commanded, we must learn to “weep with those who weep.”
The way of Christian fellowship is empathy, which means we must not assume that everyone around us is “fine.” In our conversations, we must listen for complaints and cries and help them become laments. In our gathered worship, we must acknowledge the hurting and leave room for struggle and silence. In our counsel, we must pray with and over and for the hurting. This is essential to authentic Christian faith: We are to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
So yesterday, like so many Thursdays before, I met with Sue. And we often just walk around in circles, sometimes up and down the wash, and now, mostly around cracked and weedy parking lots. I have learned a lot from Sue over the years. Sue is a prayer warrior, the sort that hefts a massive Sword of Truth, yet wields it with mercy and grace. And when we pray together, the Spirit within her sometimes struggles in silence, because He knows the backstory, the heart and soul of the hurting for whom we are praying.
And today, I yearn to set it aside for this tenderness. Solomon said, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.” Yet. Yet sometimes I rush into places of aching with fistfuls of band-aides and token casseroles and loaves of bread. Job’s friends sat in silence and waited. May I join them in waiting and trusting.
The People of the Cross prayer for today includes, By Grace, today I will fast from independent thinking & acting. Today I will come to You before I do anything at all because waiting on You is the best of all. We repent of coming to You only when we think there’s nothing else we can do, of coming to You like You are our last hope–instead of coming to You first, because You are our first love.
Prayer Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.
He is our salvation; in Him will I trust.