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Life in Christ Includes Praise and Lament
Though we may prefer to think of God giving us lives of joy and ease, a full life in Christ also includes sorrow and grief. To the extent we are willing to acknowledge God’s presence in every circumstance, our faith becomes integrated and sustainable through a lifetime.
The texts for today offer a survey of faith-full moments for the people of God, from arguably the most disturbing story in all our scriptures (Genesis 22; semicontinuous series) to the proclamation of God’s everlasting faithfulness (Psalms 89 and 13).
Does our worship have a blind spot? Do we avoid faithful lament?
Marked by transformation as clear and life and death (Romans 6), the disciple naturally embodies the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like it or not, this includes moments of sadness, grief, and betrayal that were very much a part of Jesus’ faithful journey. If our lives are identified with Christ, disciples can name both joys and sorrows as dimensions of Christ’s story and purpose.
The greatest challenge of faith for most Christians is the moment of suffering, so this day invites us to practice faithful lament. In an age of denial when difficult things are swept under the rug, we may resist the idea that God wants anything to do with suffering. Our scriptures, however, ensure we do not avoid earth-bound realities. The psalmist wails a prayer in faith that not only laments abandonment by God but also confesses God’s steadfast love (Psalm 13; semicontinuous series). The story of Abraham and Isaac haunts our imaginations when we expect God to make life easy.
Worship calls us to faithfully lament as well as praise. Let today be a service of full-hearted proclamation of the depths of life in Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 10:40-42
When Jesus sends his disciples out as missionaries, he warns them of persecution and hardships they will face. He also promises to reward any who aid his followers and support their ministry.
[Jesus said to the twelve:] 40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”