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Life in the Face of Death

May 25, 2020

“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.” Psalm 5:3

Yesterday’s gospel text reminded us that Jesus prays for us. Today’s Old Testament passage from the Daily Texts reminds us to pray to God. As its a holiday, I was able to get my run in first thing this morning. Running is when I do some of my best praying (and not just for my aging knees). Today, my prayer was one lifted up for life in the face of death.

Yesterday, we drove up to Wisconsin because, hey, why not? We stopped at the rest area just past the border. We threw a football around and the kids climbed in the trees. This is what passes for excitement these days. I also had the kids sit in front of the “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign. It makes for a nice picture. It is also a reminder of how much has been lost during the COVID-10 pandemic. The flags, you’ll note, are flying at half-staff. They were lowered to half-staff for the weekend in memory of the nearly 100,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus. As I ran, I prayed that we will find our way out of this soon. That we will act wisely. That no more lives would be lost.

Today, of course, these flags are flying at half-staff again. Until noon, our nation’s flags will fly at half-staff in honor and memory of all those who have died in service to our country. Speaking at Gettysburg in the aftermath of the bloodshed that erupted there in the summer of 1863, Lincoln urged “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” As I ran this morning, I prayed that we would be a people who continue to work for freedom and opportunity for all people. I prayed with thanksgiving for the courage of women and men willing to lay down their lives. And I prayed that no one will ever have to make such a sacrifice again.

This weekend we remember those have have died during this pandemic, and those who have died serving our country throughout its history. We also remember that, in Christ, death has been swallowed up forever in the victory of God. Tears will be wiped away, and death will be no more. Christ is risen, Alleluia!

We pray in thanksgiving for the saints who have gone before us. And we pray that the life, in all its fullness and freedom, would break forth for all people, of every tongue and nation, throughout the world.

As you enjoy the holiday, take time to pray. There is no shortage of things for which to pray. Plus, God delights in hearing from you. Having prayed, heed the advice of the psalmist: Watch. Watch, and see what God will do.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of peace, we live in a world of violence. We thank you for those who defend us. We pray that warfare and oppression of every kind would cease. Knit your people together into a common fabric of humanity, and help us work to build one another up. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: The Lyles Escape to Wisconsin, Dave Lyle, 2020. It was not intentional that they would block out “to Wiscon.” Make of this what you will.

From → COVID-19

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