God, we stand together,
collectively confessing – in moments of discomfort,
we feel in our bodies – resistance.
Jaws and lips tightening, eyes shifting in retreat,
throats squeezing in breath, straining our voices.
When the tension of discomfort creeps
within us, may our quick impulse to fight,
flee, or freeze and go unnoticed be replaced
by your holy invitation to trust and embrace
the sacred space of discomfort.
In these uncomfortable moments,
hold us gently in our place, where we are.
Settle our breath and slow our racing hearts.
For in our easy breathing, trust resides.
What is gridlocked loosens and
another way is revealed.
May we welcome the discomfort
that death on the horizon brings.
May we welcome the hidden glories which
we trust will rise up beyond the horizon.
May we welcome the way of Jesus,
and live a life that calls us into
discomfort and beyond death.
We pray in the name of the Holy Triune,
our only true Comforter.
We invite you to hear from the reading of John 12.
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany,
the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and
Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard,
anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house
was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot,
one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii
and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not
because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief;
he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might
keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you,
but you do not always have me.”
The Word 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
How are you invited into the vulnerability of practicing or receiving extravagant love?
What is your invitation to practice sabbatical year rhythms that center around the poor?
The discomfort of being seen can feel
unbearable. And yet God invites us –
May we remain present in our bodies
and allow ourselves not only to be seen,
but also loved, exactly as we are.
The discomfort of sitting with someone –
seeing them – their story unearthed,
can send us into seclusion or aggression.
And yet God invites us –
May we reach out to be with
those in need, our egos vanishing.
May we love God’s grieving children,
serve Christ’s beloved forgotten ones.
The discomfort of moving onward toward
the horizon, passing through dark nights
of discomfort can feel overwhelming.
And yet God invites us –
May we do what sometimes feels impossible –
Keep moving, keep breathing, keep heeding.
May we trust that deep breath
and new life will dawn.
We pray in the name of God, our Breath of Life,
Jesus, our Perfect Teacher
and the Spirit, our Presence Illuminated.
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find belonging and community this week.
[Photo by Annie Spratt]