Monday: Psalm 48, 49, Deuteronomy 21, Luke 11.1-28

from Rebecca Lefroy

We clearly live in an incredibly money-driven society. We see it in different ways: from the vast array of apps you can use to gain store discounts, to the glorification of high-earning celebrities and their lifestyles which we're to aspire to, to the giant highways that cut through precious and wonderful natural beauties and, in Boston, to the extraordinarily expensive housing market. If you’re rich, the narrative tells us you’re all set and if you’re poor, it’s often tough luck. Now it’s clearly not just America that’s like this. I enjoyed a hugely thought-provoking time at the creation care weekend at l’Abri in which I was struck, once again, by how humans across the world exploit the environment in horrendous ways for short-term financial gain. Think of neonicotinoids. We live in a money-obsessed world.

However, Psalm 49 calls us to remember in many ways the obvious: death, not riches, is the great leveler. “Both low and high, rich and poor” are called by the psalmist to remember that, in the end, all die (“but man, despite his riches, does not endure”). So we are not to be overawed by riches for ultimately we are all alike.

And so the psalmist leaves us with the question, where does our trust lie? If riches and short-term financial gain are our goal, we are totally blinded to reality. Eternity is real and the question is not who has riches, but who has understanding? Who knows and loves the resurrected Christ, the one who conquered the grave, and who lives their life in anticipation of their own resurrection?

Monday: Psalm 30, 32, 33, Deuteronomy 14, Luke 8.1-21

from Jessica Patton

My absolute favorite verses in all of today’s readings are Psalm 32.1-2: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Did you catch that? The one who is blessed is not the one who is sinless and somehow manages to be perfect on their own. The one who is blessed is the one who rightly sees just how bad their sin really is, confesses it, and receives God’s forgiveness. I think the part where it says “in whose spirit there is no deceit” could be taken to mean that the one who is blessed clearly see the ways in which they have fallen short. They’re not deceiving themselves about the dreadfulness of their sin or attempting to minimize the size or the severity of their transgression.

The Deuteronomy passage is a great reminder of how impossible it was for people to fulfill the law on their own: eat this, don’t eat that, do this every year, do this every three years, don’t forget these people, and on and on with all the things required to meet God’s standards. Even the Luke passage shows how difficult it is for us, who are not under the law, to be right with God. One of the requirements to be children of God, according to Jesus, is that we must “hear the word of God and do it.”

But that’s why those first two verses of Psalm 32 fill me with so much joy. There is absolutely no hope for me to be righteous on my own. When I am honest with myself and God, it is abundantly clear that my transgressions are manifold and severe. Yet the Lord hears our cries when we come to Him with confession and repentance, and He stands ready to forgive. And He doesn’t just forgive begrudgingly, either - He blesses us, teaches us, counsels us, watches over us, and surrounds us with His love. Thanks be to God!

I am absolutely thrilled it is finally spring, and am enjoying spending as much time as possible outside.

Monday: Psalm 8, 11, 15, 16, Deuteronomy 7, Luke 5.1-16

from Heather Kaufmann

“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember what the Lord your God didto Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out.” – Deuteronomy 7:17-19

The Israelites are told countless times in the Old Testament to “remember what the Lord your God did.” It strikes me that fear and remembering should be juxtaposed here: “you shall not be afraid… but you shall remember.” Flipping this phrase on its head, you could just as easily say that the Israelites were afraid because they did notremember. And here they are being challenged to remember, that they might no longer be afraid.

What would it look like to live out of a remembrance of all that the Lord has done for us? How would that then alter our fears and anxieties?

 When I am afraid, I am fixated on all the potential negative outcomes of my future. I am thinking of all the things I can do to manage those outcomes. And I am anxious that things will still not turn out that way in the end. This passage challenges me to take a step back and to remember all the Lord has already done in my life, and to carry those things with me in my present reality. From that sure footing, I can more easily face the future with an assurance that the Lord is a provider – that he is present and at work and worthy of our trust. 

Heather is ready for these Spring days to get warm enough so she can start hammocking again.