For the joy of life in Christ
For sorrow at his sufferings
For the world, seeking yet never finding
Today’s text: John 12:9-19
THERE IS A PRAYER credited to Martin Luther that ends with the sentence “grant that our hearts may never be daunted or discouraged” in the faith that Jesus died for us, willingly and lovingly.
You may read that sentence and think “what does Luther know?” OUR world is the world that is secular, our world disdains the suffering Christ, our world now says that the Church is the problem, not the solution. Luther lived in a world shot through with God-talk and God-thought; our world sneers at the “God of the gaps,” a god that occupies the shrinking space that our advancing human knowledge hasn’t quite conquered—yet. Let’s talk about daunting and discouraging!
But Luther’s prayer points us in a different direction to a truth that has existed as old as humanity itself—we, on our own, cannot and will not trust the God that made us. The form of that distrust may shift as history unfolds, as the assumptions and expectations of the world ebb and flow, but the core problem never changes. We chase what God can do for us; we see the signs of power and expect God to fulfill our demands. We are transactional—we put something valuable on the altar and expect that God will uphold his end of the bargain. We will lift up as “god” anything that can answer our demands and desires. We see no value in a God that gives us a donkey-rider who only apparent skill is getting himself arrested and executed, so we discard him in favor of “progress” or “justice” or “success” or “power.”
But even as the world continues its chasing, continues its search and discard mission, our prayer is the same: grant that our hearts may never be daunted or discouraged in this faith! Amen.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks