Set aside the scary future; stay in the present

Posted Apr 12, 2022

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Daily Scripture

During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:

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Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.

When the world falls apart, redemption is near Luke 20:41 – 21:28

41 Jesus said to them, “Why do they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 David himself says in the scroll of Psalms, The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right side 43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’ [Psalm 110:1] 44 Since David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be David’s son?”

45 In the presence of all the people, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They love being greeted with honor in the markets. They long for the places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 47 They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.”

21:1 Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny [Or two lepta]. 3 He said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than them all. 4 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had to live on.”

5 Some people were talking about the temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and ornaments dedicated to God. Jesus said, 6 “As for the things you are admiring, the time is coming when not even one stone will be left upon another. All will be demolished.”

7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? What sign will show that these things are about to happen?”

8 Jesus said, “Watch out that you aren’t deceived. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I’m the one!’ and ‘It’s time!’ Don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end won’t happen immediately.”

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes and wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. There will also be terrifying sights and great signs in the sky. 12 But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will provide you with an opportunity to testify. 14 Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. 15 I’ll give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed by your parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and friends. They will execute some of you. 17 Everyone will hate you because of my name. 18 Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. 19 By holding fast, you will gain your lives.

20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that its destruction is close at hand. 21 At that time, those in Judea must flee to the mountains, those in the city must escape, and those in the countryside must not enter the city. 22 These are the days of punishment, when everything written will find its fulfillment. 23 How terrible it will be at that time for women who are pregnant or for women who are nursing their children. There will be great agony on the earth and angry judgment on this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be plundered by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are concluded.

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, there will be dismay among nations in their confusion over the roaring of the sea and surging waves. 26 The planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken, causing people to faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world. 27 Then they will see the Human One [or Son of Man] coming on a cloud with power and great splendor. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, because your redemption is near.”

Note: Resurrection has planned a range of Easter worship experiences, in-person, online and on local television. For full details, visit www.cor.org/easter.

Reflection Questions

For Jesus, true worth lay in people like the humble widow, whose tiny gift only he saw. And worse lay ahead—the end of the Temple, where devout Jews met God. Great hardship and suffering would follow. It all happened—Rome destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. Despite this world’s sad state, Jesus urged his listeners to keep faith whatever came. He told them, “Don’t be alarmed…raise your heads, because your redemption is near” (21:9, 28).

  • The Covid-19 pandemic did more harm than most of us could have dreamed. To Jesus' hearers, the Temple’s destruction sounded just that incredible. Jesus told his people to hold to faith even when that happened because their “redemption was near” (verse 28). How can trusting that God is near help you not to “faint from fear,” but hold your head up even in times of pandemic or war?
  • Life in a broken world gets tough. Scholar N. T. Wright said, “This is what it’s about: not an exciting battle, with adrenalin flowing and banners flying, but the steady tread, of prayer and hope and scripture and sacrament and witness, day by day and week by week.” * In what ways can you sustain the “steady tread” of your faith journey even through personal or world crises? What models of patient, steady faith can you draw on?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to trust you even when life gets hard. Give me the strength and patience I need to deal with life’s struggles, the ones I am facing now and any others in the future. Amen.


* N. T. Wright, Luke for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 260.

Music

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Looking for GPS Insights? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Insights tab!

GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Church of the Resurrection.

GPS Insight, take two. Yep, this is the second submission for today’s GPS, ironically because I failed to have appropriate insight.

You see, in the first run at this I called out someone from my distant past for not being generous for the sake of blessing others, but rather for their own self promotion. But as I thought this over, I realized that by calling this person out I was inadvertently doing my own version of the same thing. After all, by making the comparison I made it clear that I felt I had done better and wanted to point that out.

So, in this, my second try, rather than focusing on the challenge of selfless giving and the failings of those who might not be as humble as they could be-–myself included--I’m going to try some actual insight.

As a society, we have a tendency to focus on what people have, not what they give. When we post our social media pics, they show us flashing new things, hanging out in cool places, and when we are serving others, we post pictures of that too. Those pictures aren’t to keep us from forgetting the experience, but to show other people what we are doing.

Now, I don’t necessarily think this is because we aren’t giving or serving from the heart, but because we have been conditioned to be rewarded for our actions. We have developed a need for recognition. That desire for someone to give us a shout out makes it hard to keep our good works to ourselves.

I’m not suggesting that we should never hear a “great job” or a “thank you for your generosity,” but that maybe we should find a way to get that encouragement from within. You see, no matter what we do, God sees our actions and knows our heart. When we give selflessly, without looking for accolades from others, we have an opportunity to pause and celebrate our actions in a completely different way. Rather than posting those pics, how about taking that selfie and storing it on your phone. Then, when you are feeling the need for a little pick me up, pull out that picture and remember that not only did you do something pretty amazing, but you did it the way Jesus called us to.

Looking for GPS Guide? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Guide tab!

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