Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States, so it is appropriate that we begin this week with words from the psalmist that have been a source of courage for those facing opposition and prejudice.
In his final sermon, Martin Luther King Jr. closed with words that echo...
Lord, help me choose love over fear. May my courage help change the world to reflect your plan of justice and mercy. Amen.
Sometimes we struggle with the challenges we face. If God is good and God is for us, then why do we experience pain and loss? Isaiah feels the sting of darkness and despair, and the psalmist has experienced days of distress. Yet both encourage themselves with the promise that God has not forgotten them. The light will come, as will the shouts of joy. The New Testament readings warn against following human leaders to the extent that we take our eyes off Christ. The Corinthian church has divided into factions that identify primarily with Paul or Peter, not Christ! The Gospel reading shows that Peter, like all other human leaders, is merely a disciple himself. Jesus is the one we should seek to follow.
Read Isaiah 9:1-4. How has God’s love freed you to find your calling?Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. When have you called out to God? How has God helped you turn your cries to praise?Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. How have you experienced division within the body of Christ? How might a focus on Christ rather than particular faith leaders or denominations help you to repair division and work through differences?Read Matthew 4:12-23. How have significant changes in your life (like a loved one’s death or a career change) allowed your ministry to grow?
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