Daily Devotions

Daily Devotions

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rev. Ed Zeiders


Opening Prayer: God of the people, those who are set apart by Christ the Beloved, hear our prayers. We gather together with great thanksgiving in our hearts. Our praises are lifted heavenward, yielding to the depth of your mercies, and contemplating our own discipleship. Lead us away from temptation and our own desires; set our minds on Christ so that we may journey toward the cross with all humility and confession. Lead us away from self-pity, and restore our integrity. Open our lives to the strong presence of your Spirit. Drive the dark of doubt away. Lord, hear our prayers and bring us home again. Amen.


Hymn                                                    “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling”                                     UMH     348


Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Refrain: Come home, come home, you who are weary, come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling, O sinner, come home! (2) Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not his mercies, mercies for you and for me? Refrain—(3) Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me; shadows are gathering, death-beds are coming, coming for you and for me. Refrain—(4) O for the wonderful love he has promised, promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me. Refrain.                                                                                          –Will L. Thompson, 1880



Biblical Passage                                                “The Suffering Servant”                                                Isaiah 53:1-6


Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (2) For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of the dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (3) He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hid their faces; he was despised and we held him of no account. (4) Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. (6) All like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and Lord has laid on him the iniquity of all of us.


Reflections: The Suffering Servant of Isaiah was despised, rejected, and eventually crucified, yet these songs and passages never grow old. The love of God for us, especially since we often wander away, never grows old, either. And our capacity to reject Christ and the Way of Christ persist from one generation to the next. What do you hear as Will Thompson penned, “O sinner come home?” What wonderful love is this, surviving the ages and changing lives; does it still rings true? Who is this man, this Suffering Servant? And what has he to do with us? Well, the clear and compelling answer is: “Everything!” He is the way out of our darkness, and it is Christ alone who illuminates the path itself. Be ever conscious now that the Cross is drawing closer; its’ magnetism (love) is calling and drawing us closer with every breath, in every prayer, and every Lenten hymn. “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling!”

                                                                                                                                                                            --Just thinking        


Closing:  Dr. Walter Brueggemann wrote in The Prophetic Imagination, that “Passion as the capacity and readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel is the enemy of imperial authority.” Lent is meant to yield passionate spirituality.  Now we understand why Jesus was despised and put to death! (EZ)

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