Friday, March 27, 2009

Nothing to Prove

Invitation to Prayer
“Our dear Lord, who has given to us and taught us to pray the Psalter and the Lord’s Prayer, grants to us also the spirit of prayer and of grace so that we pray with enthusiasm and earnest faith, properly and without ceasing, for we need to do this; he has asked us for it and therefore wants to have it from us. To Him be praise, honor, and thanksgiving. Amen." (Martin Luther quoted in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, 63).

The Psalm (Psalm 130)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

2 O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

6 My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

The Scripture Reading (Luke 23:8-12)
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

For Reflection
Jesus’ silence before Herod isn’t the resigned quiet of one defeated. It’s more like waiting – waiting to strike, to deal the death blow just when the self-inflated antagonist thinks he’s won. That blow will come later, three days after the execution. But for now, Jesus has nothing to prove. He will not answer the questions. He will not squander a miracle by putting on a show. His silence in Herod’s court is not weak resignation. It’s powerful restraint.

Are there places or people that make you feel like you need to prove yourself? How do you handle it?

Closing Prayer
Too often, O God, I cave to the pressure to prove myself: to say something or do something impressive and memorable. I don’t want to live that way, chasing the approval of others, worried what they think of me. So let my thoughts be first of you – what it means to follow you, what kind of life pleases you. Then let the thoughts become lived behaviors that show you to the world around me. Amen.

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