Prayer: Holy God and lover of all, as we study Your Words this day, help us to unlock our minds so that Your Word may live in our hearts and minds richly. Amen.
Read St. Luke 11: 52 – 54
Jesus says a woe to the Experts in the Law that they have taken away the key to knowledge from all peoples and made living life in God impossible. In fact, Jesus says, the Experts themselves have kept themselves away from living life in God.
At that Jesus leaves. Can you imagine the silence that must have reigned for a few minutes? Then the Pharisees and Experts of the Law begin to anxiously talk amongst themselves of what Jesus had said to them. They did not like what they heard and they oppose Jesus and try to trap him at every meeting.
Yikes. This is so sad. The very people, the Pharisees and Experts of the Law, who were to unlock the Scriptures and the law so that everyone could find their way to God, have instead locked up the Scriptures and the Law so tightly that no one can gain knowledge. Then in their anger, they decide to trap Jesus. Yikes.
This is called holding a grudge. What happens when we hold onto grudges? We become angry and can not forgive. What happens when we live in anger and can not forgive? Life becomes difficult and we look only at ourselves and forget God and helping others to see the light of Christ.
Do Churches hold grudges? Not the physical building but the people inside? Yes. Think back to the last time you heard the words, “I remember when this Church was filled to overflowing with people.” While that might not seem like a grudge, it actually is as we are angry that the Church is not filled with people anymore. When we become angry we loose sight of God. While it is wonderful to look back at what was, it is equally as important to say, “I remember when this Church was filled to overflowing with people. I wonder what new way God is using us to bring joy and justice into this community?”
Remember this day to pray for those who lead the Church in following God…. the ministers, the elders, the Sunday School Teachers, the Youth Leaders, the Music Director, the Choir, the Sound system people. Remember this day to pray for those who lead the Church for the community to come and live the Good News of Christ… the Board of Managers, Treasurer, the Caretakers, the lawnmowers and snowshovellers, the landscapers, and those who count offering.
Prayer: Great God, we come on bended knee asking to be forgiven for only looking into the past with Your Church. Guide our eyes so that we can turn around and see Your present Church and future Church and Your glory. Be with those who minister and feed us this day. May they always know that they are loved and granted Your peace. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.