|Daily Office Readings 5 February 2019 |
AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36 Isa. 52:1-12; Gal. 4:12-20; Mark 8:1-10
“You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the Gospel to you? Though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4.13-14)
While Paul’s tone is going to shift to one of a reprimand shortly, he now praises the way the Galatians cared for him in a former time when he was not doing well, a situation not reported in scripture unless it was associated with the trip to Damascus event. This physical infirmity seems to be the reason for bringing the Galatians the Gospel.
I can almost hear Paul crying for help. And he receives it from some Galatians who have accepted Christ and come to the aid of Paul. We too are those helpful Galatians. God moves us to compassion for those who suffer. We may not agree with the way they conduct their lives that may have landed them in their misery in the first place, but there is no time for that when help is urgently needed. God makes us move to assist them like the Good Samaritans we are created to be.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.
“Hear my cry, O God, and listen to my prayer.” (Psalm 61:1)
Crying is praying. Much of what I glean from scripture comes from repeated messages that hewn out a place in the heart of my mind and stay there only coming to the forefront when I’m presented with a situation that requires such knowledge. Crying being prayer is one such message. Let me share two such pieces of evidence. Along with this Psalm there are many, but let’s look at one in Genesis and one in the Gospel of John.
When Hagar with her son is forced to leave the dwelling of Abraham by order of Sarah she is far away and her provisions have exhausted and their end seems almost immediate. “Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” (Genesis 21:16 – 17) Although she cried as well, it seems the boy’s crying was heard. But God responded to crying. Is not praying a call to God?
From the Gospel of John we read, “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” (John 20:11 – 15)
There are people who claim to be atheist, but they cry. It is a behavior so intertwined to our emotions that it comes naturally. God made it that way so that God would be notified when we are in need or trouble. Sometimes when we find that we think we can’t pray, just cry, because God’s ears hears tears.
“Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” (From the 3rd verse of Praise to the Lord)