God of our lives, there are days when the burdens
we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies gray and threatening;
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
turn our eyes to where
the skies are full of promise;
tune our hearts to brave music;
Give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age;
and so quicken our spirits that we may
be able to encourage the souls of all
who journey with us on the road of life,
to your honor and glory.
God give us the strength that waits upon
you in silence and peace. Give us humility
in which alone is rest, and deliver us from
pride which is the heaviest of burdens.
We pray these things in the name
of the Holy Trinity, who brings
freedom and goodness
to our spirits.
(Curated by Crystal Franz from St. Augustine & Thomas Merton)
We invite you to hear from the Gospel of Mark 12:38-44.
38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes,
who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted
with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best
seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!
40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance
say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd
putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins,
which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples
and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has
put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance;
but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had,
all she had to live on.”
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Homily and Reflection
What are the ways we can be consumed with ourselves?
How might we be able to lay down power in exchange for mutuality?
Who are the vulnerable that we need to draw attention to and advocate for?
With conscious humility, we confess, we have made
our lives about us, rather than making ourselves about life.
Jesus, you teach us – this is enough. This is fullness.
You are the source of goodness and contentment.
You are the source of freedom and life.
Our search for more than God hollows our eyes,
crushes our breath, numbs our senses, shrivels our souls.
Yet that which will never fill us –
which will indeed destroy us – we crave.
In our quest for power and self-importance, we abandon
our bodies, we compromise our souls. We construct false
self-images and frame our lives so rigidly, we stunt our own
growth, as we press against the walls we have created.
Jesus, show us where we have lost our way.
Open our eyes to our behaviors of death and oppression.
Grant us eyes to see and the will to stop –
Stop wanting. Stop striving. Stop pushing. Stop posting.
Stop promenading. Stop buying. Stop hoarding. Stop judging.
Stop hiding. Stop masking. Stop glossing. Stop framing.
Release us from that which consumes us, but does not fill us.
Release us from that which swells our egos,
at the expense of Your beloved children,
leaving us out of touch with reality.
Guide us as we go in the name of
God, Giver of Life,
Jesus, our Gracious Teacher,
and the Holy Spirit, who nudges us towards clarity.
Go in peace, Vox, and live the church.
May you find rest and contentment this week.
[Photo by Christian Chen]