Friday, December 21, 2018
Light three candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first two purple candle, the Hope and Peace candles…and light the rose or pink candle…the Joy Candle.
READ: Luke 13:31-35
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 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! 35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “
I have had this little “toy,” the Magic 8 Ball, on my mind recently. One of my friends in college had one in her dorm room. I just finished a quilt block pattern for one. If you have never seen or held a Magic 8 Ball, it looks like an 8 ball from a pool table, except it is bigger, made of plastic, filled with a liquid and has a little circular window in the bottom where it sits. If you pick it up, ask it a question and turn it over, it will give you an answer. Most answers are written in a way that could lead the mind in all sorts of directions for confirming stupid questions. My favorite is “it is decidedly so.” Who talks like that?
And who talks like Jesus? This very short passage is packed full of what appear to be vague answers from Jesus. But they may not be as vague as we think.
We await the Christ child. We also await the day when Christ will come again. This passage is in reference to all that stuff that happened in between then. First, Jesus calls Herod a fox. Not very nice, but rather true. He is sly and sneaky. Cunning. Second, Jesus is saying, I have a Kingdom to bring in, and it is going to happen. Casting out demons and performing cures are required work for ushering in the Kingdom. And when Jesus says, “I am doing this today, tomorrow and on the third day,” he is making it clear he knows exactly what he is here to do – die on the cross – in Jerusalem. He knows that is the direction he must continue to go.
Sometimes, knowing the “tomorrow” makes the “today” easier. Sometimes it makes it harder. We can’t ever know for sure what tomorrow will bring, but we can find joy, hope and peace in trusting that there was never a time when Jesus didn’t know what his “tomorrow” would bring. It brought his death for us. There was never a time when Jesus was not. Jesus always has been and always will be, and we are the reason. We are the beneficiaries. We are forgiven because the blessed one came in the name of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
God of Tomorrow, you sent your Son into this earth to walk the road to Jerusalem for us. Because he died, we live. Because he was sacrificed, we have new life. Forgive us our sins. Forgive us for not trusting that you have all our tomorrows. Teach us trust. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen
What’s one thing you wish you knew about the future and why? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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