Prayer: Holy God, we give You our actions and energies this day. Be with those who suffer and see no end to their suffering. Bring comfort to those who need You and forget to call upon Your name. Hear our prayers O Lord that we offer You in peace and love. Use our hands this day to bring Your love into our world so that other’s suffering may be lifted and Your glory shine upon all. This we ask in Jesus name. Amen.
Luke 23: 18 – 25
Then they cried out and said “Release Barabbas”. Pilate tried again asking if Jesus should be released. The crowd replied, “Crucify him, crucify him”. Pilate must now be totally confused. Jesus has done nothing wrong. Jesus is innocent. A third time Pilate tries to change the minds of the people. Pilate reminds the people that there are no grounds for wanting Jesus be put to death. But the people keep demanding that Jesus die and Barabbas be released. And so Pilate does the people’s bidding.
Stop and reflect for a moment. Pilate does not have to give in to the people. Pilate is the one who chooses who will be Chief Priest. Pilate is the one who governs the people and makes the people uphold the laws of Caesar. Yet here we have Pilate the man who washes his hands of the whole affair and gives the people what they think they want.
Many theologians reflect upon this scripture and ask where God was when Jesus was being handed over for crucifixion. Why did God not stop this whole scene of judgement and yelling for crucifixion? The simple answer is because this was the journey to the Glorious Forgiving Messiah. In order for God to forgive all our sins, Jesus – His only Son—had to die. Yet, God did not leave Jesus. Just like God does not leave us. God is always present.
When we are under hardships, often our whole focus is centred on our own life and what we are going through. We get consumed by our own lives and we forget the love of God is present. Our focus must always be upon God.
Each year Ministers and Elders listen as people tell them the story of their lives. Often these stories are stories of hardship and loneliness and “black clouds”. Marriages are ruined. Families are ruined. Finances are ruined. Yet, the important task of the minister and elder is to listen to these stories and then pray that these people may discern the love of God that is in their lives.
This day, remember to uphold Ministers and Elders in God’s love so that they can be a listening and loving ear of God to those who are suffering.
Prayer: Great God, be with those who listen for Your voice this day. Help them and us to always discern Your will. Be a comfort to those who are only listening to their own sorrows and can not see Your love. Surround each of us with Your presence. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.