The Invitation to Prayer
The practice of paying attention is as simple as looking twice at people and things you might just as easily ignore. To see takes time, like having a friend takes time. It is as simple as turning off the television to learn the song of a single bird. Why should anyone do such things? I cannot imagine – unless one is weary of crossing days off the calendar with no sense of what makes the last day different from the next . . . The practice of paying attention offers no quick fix for such weariness . . . Instead it is one way into a different way of life, full of treasure for those who are willing to pay attention to exactly where they are (Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, 33).
The Psalm (Psalm 100)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The Scripture Reading (Luke 23:38-43)
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Those who look upon Jesus with curiosity and hostility regard his Kingship as a joke; a charge posted above his head to broadcast his shame. But those who look to Jesus out of their own desperate need see his Kingship as their only hope. The man next to Jesus who saw himself as he truly was also had the capacity to see Jesus as he truly was: Jesus is King and he rules over a Kingdom. The self-satisfied and demanding onlookers missed this entirely.
What does Jesus’ kingship mean to you?
Lord Jesus, we seem to know you best when life is at its worst: when our need is inescapable and our true condition can no longer be excused or disguised. In our humility we know you in your glory. You are indeed our King, governing all things for our good. We turn to you in humble and thankful trust today. Amen.