Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, April 2

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill.  So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world.  But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.”  After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”  The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.”  Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep.  Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.  For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”  Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.  Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”  And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.  The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.  He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus began to weep.  So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”  But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”  Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”  So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him (John 11:1-45).


Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–The Prophet Miriam: “Snow-white” Miriam

Saturday, April 1

“While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman);  and they said, ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?’ And the Lord heard it.  Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.  Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, ‘Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.’ So the three of them came out.  Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the entrance of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward.  And he said, ‘Hear my words:

When there are prophets among you,
I the Lord make myself known to them in visions;
I speak to them in dreams.
Not so with my servant Moses;
he is entrusted with all my house.
 With him I speak face to face— clearly, not in riddles;
and he beholds the form of the Lord.

Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’  

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.

When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous.  Then Aaron said to Moses, ‘Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed.  Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother’s womb.’  And Moses cried to the Lord, ‘O God, please heal her.’  But the Lord said to Moses, ‘If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.’  So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again.  After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran” (Num 12:1-16).

This odd, ancient story communicates in particular two important lessons. First, while recognizing the roles of Aaron and Miriam, this passage affirms the uniqueness of Moses. Aaron the priest and Miriam the prophet both ask with some reason, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” The answer, of course, is yes: Aaron and Miriam—that is, priesthood and prophecy—are legitimate means of communion with God. But Moses is both priest and prophet, and something more besides: “With him I speak face to face. . . and he beholds the form of the Lord.”

Second, this old story absolutely refutes any notion of “racial purity.” The occasion for this confrontation between Moses on the one hand and his brother and sister on the other is Moses’ marriage to a non-Israelite woman. According to Exodus 2:21-22 (see last Saturday’s devotional), Moses’ wife Zipporah was Midianite, but in today’s passage, the wife of Moses is said to be Cushite. Cush could refer to northern Arabia (and so perhaps to Midian by another name), but usually designates what we call Ethiopia, in northern Africa. In either case, the point is that Moses did not marry an Israelite (although, as we will see, one dramatic element of this story is heightened and clarified if Cush is understood as Ethiopia).

Many biblical texts condemn intermarriage with foreigners: for example, Deuteronomy 7:3-4, where the Lord says of the Canaanites, “Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods.” Ezra ordered a wholesale divorce of all foreign wives (Ezra 10:3-14); Nehemiah, dealing with intermarriage more leniently in his day, took no action against existing marriages but forbade the practice in the future (Neh 13:23-28). The purpose of these regulations was never to preserve racial purity, however, but rather to maintain right worship, as Deuteronomy 7:4 makes clear. Therefore, in other passages, intermarriage is not condemned. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 describes the practice of marrying foreign women taken in wartime, insisting that such war brides be treated with respect. The four women in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus are all foreign women who married into the people Israel: the Canaanite Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law (Gen 38; Matt 1:3); Rahab of Jericho (Josh 2:1-12; 6:17; Matt 1:5); Ruth, the Moabite widow who married Boaz, becoming King David’s great-grandmother (Ruth 4:18-22; Matt 1:5-6); and Bathsheba, “the wife of Uriah” the Hittite (2 Sam 11—12; Matt 1:6).

While Aaron and Miriam object to Moses’ foreign-born wife, God does not!   Indeed, because Miriam the prophet spoke against her brother, God struck her with leprosy; her skin became “as white as snow.” If Moses’ Cushite wife did come from Ethiopia, this punishment is curiously appropriate: it is as though God had said, “Since you are so concerned about light skin, we will see just how white we can make you!” Although Moses intercedes for her, snow-white Miriam must stay outside the camp for seven days, until her leprosy is gone, and with it her uncleanness. The point is surely clear: “racial purity” is of no concern to God.

Prayer: O God, help us to see our sisters and brothers of other nations and races as sisters and brothers, and to affirm the full humanity of all people. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, descendant of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, Amen.

AFTERWORD: Pictured above are Mildred and Richard Loving, whose 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, struck down anti-miscegenation laws in America.


Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–The Prophet Miriam: Moses, Aaron and Miriam

Friday, March 31 

“O my people, what have I done to you?
    In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
    and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
    Aaron, and Miriam” (Micah 6:3-4).

Micah’s prophecy is set in the middle of the eighth century BCE, at about the same time that Amos and Hosea were prophesying in the north, and Isaiah son of Amoz was prophesying in Jerusalem (compare Micah 1:1 with Amos 1:1; Hosea 1:1; and Isa 1:1). Within the relative brief span of their prophetic ministries, Israel to the north would fall to Assyria, and Judah to the south would see its borders radically reduced, and be forced to submit to Assyrian rule. Micah addresses a people in despair, who despite their injustice and immorality cling desperately to the superstition that since they are God’s people, nothing really bad can happen to them: “Surely the Lord is with us! No harm shall come upon us” (Micah 3:11).

In Micah 6:1-8, the Lord announces a lawsuit against the people for violating God’s covenant. To show that God has been faithful despite their faithlessness, the Lord rehearses the story of the Exodus out of Egypt—led, this passage declares, not by Moses alone, but by “Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” These three siblings had been used by God to deliver God’s people in ancient times. But it may be that they are also remembered as examples of the life of faithfulness God desires, to which Micah’s own generation is called:

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).

May we too, empowered by God’s Spirit, model ourselves on Moses’ passion for justice, on Aaron’s steadfast loyalty (a better translation of the Hebrew khesed than the NRSV’s “kindness”), and on Miriam’s humble, self-effacing walk with God.

Prayer: O Jesus, you alone embody all righteousness. Yet you call us to be your disciples, and follow in your way. Show us how we may do justice in our own context. Break open our hard hearts, and enable us to love as you love, in lives of true commitment. Keep us humble, Abba, and help us to desire always to walk with you. In the name of Jesus, who says to all his disciples, “Follow me” (Matt 4:19), Amen.


Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–The Prophet Miriam: God’s Deliverance

Thursday, March 30

“When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.  And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’ Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea” (Exod 15:19-22).

Based on the archaic form of Hebrew found in Exodus 15:1-18, this poem is the oldest passage in Scripture, having been fixed in written form by the eleventh century BCE. This is important: we need to hear this song, not from the perspective of a strong and self-confident Israel, but of an Israel in its infancy—a people fragile and vulnerable, who had until very recently been no people, hanging on to survival by their fingernails. Otherwise, we may use the image of God as a warrior, sweeping away God’s enemies, to justify our own arrogant, bullying behavior. Jewish tradition did not read this passage as legitimating hatred toward those we regard as our enemies. According to the Talmud (the authoritative collection of the teachings of the rabbis), when the Israelites began to celebrate the defeat of the Egyptians, God asked, “How can you sing as the works of my hand are drowning in the sea?” (b. Megillah 10b).

Another point we may miss in this account of God’s deliverance is that the songleader is Moses’ sister, identified as “the prophet Miriam.” Miriam is not the only woman identified as a prophet in the Hebrew Bible: so are Deborah, who is also called a judge—that is, a leader in Israel in the days before kings (Judges 4:4), and Huldah, who confirms that the book of the law discovered in the temple in Josiah’s day is divine word (2 Kgs 22:14-20). A feminine form of the word “prophet” is used in the Hebrew for grammatical reasons, but it would be a mistake to translate the word as “prophetess,” implying that these women belonged to some sort of women’s auxiliary! Miriam was a prophet, just as Moses was; just as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos and Micah were. Like them, Miriam was a spokesperson of God, and the song that she led was, and is, a word from God. In our next two devotionals, we will chase this idea through other texts, in order to refute any nonsense about “political correctness” here. The Bible is clear on Miriam’s prophetic role. The question is, what will we do with this word?

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your including us in your community. Forgive us for turning the good news of that inclusion into an excuse for excluding others. Help us to hear your good news with joy, whether it is proclaimed by a Miriam or by a Moses. Through Jesus, whose ministry was supported by women “who provided for [him] out of their resources” (Luke 8:3), Amen.


Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–Moses’ Call: Resistance

Wednesday, March 29

But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”  But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else” (Exod 4:10-13).

A common element in biblical call stories is what Robert Gnuse calls “prophetic denial”—the rejection of a prophet’s call, based on a sense of unworthiness or inability in the one called, or on anxiety about what the call implies (Robert K. Gnuse, The Old Testament and Process Theology [St. Louis: Chalice, 2000], 128). Jeremiah objects that he is too young (Jer. 1:6); Isaiah exclaims, “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5); Jonah votes with his feet and heads for Tarshish (Jon 1:3). But Moses, in his persistent resistance to God’s call, outdoes them all! First, he demands that God reveal God’s name (Exod 3:13). Then, Moses asks for signs that will prove that he has come from God’s presence (Exod 4:1-8). Then, he protests that he cannot speak eloquently, or perhaps even plainly (the Hebrew permits either reading; Exod 4:10). Finally, in blunt, transparent honesty, Moses blurts out, “O my Lord, please send someone else”! I don’t want to do this! God does send Aaron, as Moses’ spokesperson, but Moses is not excused—he too must go.

Doubtless we resonate with Moses’ complaint. We would not have chosen to live in times that require us to stand up and stand out. We would have preferred a quiet, non-confrontational life. But we live in this time and place, not in some other, and by God’s grace we must prove equal to the demands of our season. We would prefer that God send someone else. But God has sent us.


“To serve the present age,

my calling to fulfill,

O may it all my powers engage,

to do my Master’s will!”

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(Hymn by Charles Wesley)




Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–Moses’ Call: God Sees

Tuesday, March 28

“Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.  So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt’” (Exod 3:7-10).

The pilot announced over the intercom, “I have some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: we are lost somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. We really don’t have any idea where we are. However, the good news is that we are making very good time. . .” We’ve all heard one or another version of a “good news/bad news” joke. In a way, that is the form that God’s call to Moses takes. First, the good news: God has not forgotten God’s promises to the ancestors, and does indeed intend to bring God’s people into a homeland. Further, God is not removed from the suffering of God’s people. God is aware of their oppression at the hands of the Egyptians, and God has a plan to deliver them.

But now comes the bad news: Moses learns, to his astonishment, that he is the plan: “I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt”! That is the problem with prayer, brothers and sisters! When we ask for God to act in our world, we had better be ready to put hands and feet to our prayers, for God will put us to work. God’s certain, and terrifying, answer to our prayers concerning racism and violence in our culture will be to send us to address them. Our promise is, however, that God will be with us, as God was with Moses.

Prayer: Thank you, God, that you see the suffering in our world, and that you care, deeply. We know that you are calling us to address the crisis of our times—but we are afraid, Abba. Empower us to be used by you to answer our own prayers, in the name of your son Jesus, who prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want,” (Matt 26:39), Amen.



Week 5, Exodus 3—4; 15:1-22: “Moses and Miriam”–Moses’ Call: Names

Monday, March 27

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’  He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ . . . But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?’  God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations’” (Exodus 3: 4-6, 13-15).

Volumes have been written about the revelation and meaning of the divine Name—and no wonder! There is wonder and mystery here that it would take lifetimes to explore. But at its simplest, most basic level, what is going on in this classic encounter? God calls Moses by name. Then, God tells Moses God’s own Name (in Hebrew, YHWH; since the Name is regarded as too holy to pronounce, pious Jews simply say “Adonai,” or “My Lord;” most English translators therefore render the Name as Lord in all capital letters). This very familiar exchange happens every time we meet someone new. We introduce ourselves. We exchange names, and with that exchange, a relationship can begin.

That God already knows Moses’ name is no surprise. It is God after all who is the source of our identities: of course such a God knows who Moses is—better than Moses knows himself! God has also been known to Israel before, as “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” But the giving of God’s name sets that relationship on a personal, intimate footing. God desires a relationship with this people who are no people, these slaves in Egypt, and it is that relationship that makes them a people.

Prayer: Thank you, Adonai, for calling us each by name, and for giving your own to us. Thank you for showing us in Jesus who you are, and inviting us into relationship through him. In Jesus’ own holy name, Amen.



Fourth Sunday in Lent

Sunday, March 26

“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.  But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (John 3:14-21).


Week 4, Exodus 1—2–“Moses”: Race and Identity

Saturday, March 25

“But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well.  The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.  But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock.  When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, ‘How is it that you have come back so soon today?’  They said, ‘An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.’  He said to his daughters, ‘Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.’  Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage.  She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, ‘I have been an alien residing in a foreign land’” (Exodus 2:15-22).

Curiously, those most obsessed with defining race precisely are those who are persuaded of the superiority of their own race—and the inferiority of others. For example, our Constitution once defined the inferiority of African slaves with mathematical precision: when counting population for the purpose of determining Presidential electors, a slave counted as three-fifths of a person. Mississippi’s anti-miscegenation laws once defined a person as “African” if she or he had at least one-eighth African blood. By contrast, African American theologian Brian Bantum has argued that race is “a tragic illusion,” born of the Western need to assert superiority by setting up a false dichotomy of “white” against “black”—a lie exposed early on by mixed-race children, living “in between categories of colonizer and colonized, human and nonhuman, slave and free” (Brian Bantum, Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity [Waco: Baylor University, 2010]; cited in a review by Edward P. Antonio in Christian Century 129 [February 8, 2012]: 38).

Moses’ story reveals what experience in our own multi-racial society is increasingly proving to be true: that Bantum is right. While Moses was born a Hebrew, he grew up as an Egyptian, the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter. No wonder, when Moses helps Reuel’s daughters water their flock, they report to their father, “An Egyptian (!) helped us.” Moses marries one of those young women, named Zipporah, and settles down to live among Reuel’s people, as a Midianite. But he knows he is not truly one of them, either, as the name he gives his son makes clear: Gershom, here understood to mean “name of a ger”—that is, a foreigner, or sojourner (see the devotions for week six). There was nothing wrong with Moses being Midianite, or Egyptian for that matter—and he could easily have been defined, and defined himself, as either. But his identification with the Hebrews oppressed in Egypt will not let him go—and neither will the Lord.

Prayer: Free us, God, from our obsession with telling others who they are. Remind us that you have spoken our names, from before creation, and give us grace to accept and affirm one another. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.




Week 4, Exodus 1—2–“Moses”: Trying to Force God’s Hand

Friday, March 24 

One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk.  He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.  When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, ‘Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?’  He answered, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘Surely the thing is known.’  When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses” (Exodus 2:11-15).

Scripture and history are full of accounts of people acting to force God’s hand—and it never ends well. The Israelites attempted to claim the land of promise too soon, and were driven back (Num 14:40-45); they presumptuously carried the ark into battle without consulting the Lord, and were defeated (1 Sam 4:1-10). In 1524, German peasants inspired by the preaching of Thomas Müntzer believed that they could bring in the kingdom of God by taking up arms against their lords—and 100,000 of them died.

Moses’ murder of an Egyptian overseer may be an understandable response to cruel oppression, but it is not excusable. Surely if the cross teaches us anything, it is that God’s way is not the way of violence. Jesus did not come to lead an armed rebellion, imposing his will upon the world by force. Instead, he told his followers, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

Prayer: O patient and compassionate God, help us to wait upon you, in patience and in confidence. But never let us turn that waiting into an excuse for inaction. Show us how to represent your kingdom in our world, without thinking that we can bring in your kingdom by our action, and without succumbing to despair when our efforts seem unfruitful. Through Jesus our Christ, who was rejected by those he came to save, Amen.