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Daily Scripture and Prayer – March 1-April 3, 2021

This month, we continue with Jesus’ teaching in what is called the Farewell Discourse. He and his friends are still in the upper room after the sacred meal, the foot washing and Judas’ exit. Jesus knows that there is so much that he has not yet made clear to them, or that they have misunderstood. There is poignancy and tenderness in these verses. Jesus is a mixture of love, compassion, sadness and hopefulness all at the same time. You may find this month’s verses to be repetitive. That is intentional. Jesus often used repetition as a teaching tool much like our grade school teachers had us repeat the alphabet over and over again. He wants these words to stick so that they will come to mind effortlessly when hard times come. This month’s devotions will take us through April 3, Holy Saturday. April devotions will begin on Easter Day.

This month try repeating the day’s verses aloud several times during the day. Ask God to plant them in your heart so they will be there when you need them.

March 1 – John 15:14-15 - 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. The word ‘friends’ means beloved, deeply cherished ones. ‘Command’ refers to the whole of the moral way of life that Jesus teaches, love of God, neighbor and self. ‘If’ in verse 14 indicates that living a Jesus-like moral like is how one can be assured of being his beloved. The word for servant, doulos, refers to someone in bondage. Jesus is saying that he sees that we are beloved friends when we live like him. We live like him because we know (the word here is for to perceive fully, comprehend) who he is and what that means for our lives.
Dear God, we are honored to be your beloved. You have shown us the way of life that leads to joy and righteousness. Help us today to live according to the pattern of your life so that we may experience joy fully and that joy may rub off on others. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 2 – John 15:16 - 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. This verse makes clear that our status before God is God’s doing, not our earning. The second sentence is interesting. The word ‘appointed’ means given. It could literally read, “ I have given you to go and bear fruit.” We are God’s to give and God gives us to the works of love. ‘Bear fruit’ refers to tangible works of love. We are recognized as disciples when we do active love. When that happens and only then, God gives what is asked in the Name.
Dear God, sometimes in our prayers we do more begging than asking. We don’t even know if we ‘beg’ for right things. Give us again today to the works of love, and let your love so transform us that our prayers are in accordance to your will. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 3 – John 15:17 - 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. This verse makes clear the purpose of all true morality. Obeying the will and ways of God is for the purpose of insuring that those who follow Jesus will accomplish the work of love in the world and in so doing create communities of mutual love. The word Jesus uses here for love is agape; ethical, unconditional love that seeks the good of the beloved.
Dear God, Today we ask that you lift our burdens and anxieties so that we can experience the spaciousness of your love for us and for others. Help us to practice letting go of worries and fears so that we may be more filled with love to share. In Jesus’ holy name we pray.

March 4 – John 15:18 - 18 ”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. There is a shift in tone in this verse. The grammar of the word ‘if’ indicates that it is a sure thing. With all the talk of love and being loved, Jesus wants them (us) to know that it is not easy to be God’s person when the world rejects God’s values. The word ‘hates’ refers to a malicious unjustified feeling or an aversion. Being hated by the world was a part of the early church’s identity. They also realized that love is severely tested when met by hate. The word ‘aware’ is a form of the word ‘to know’ that means to fully comprehend. ‘Before’ means at the beginning. Jesus wants them to think both physically and spiritually. All that is in opposition to God, all chaos external chaos and all internal unconsciousness, will resist transformation. Being aware of that, lessens the ability of opposition to do harm.
Dear God, the world around us is in a time of chaos. There have been many such times and they always seem to rise when love expands more and more to impower and include. We can feel the same opposition within ourselves when our growth takes us to a level where we have to discard old stories of limitation to make room for new stories of grace. Help us to notice these dynamics outside of us and inside of us, so that in seeing and understanding we can be released. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 5 – John 15:19 - 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. ‘If you belonged to the world’ means something like if you were made of it. Jesus wants them to understand that if they (we) play the world’s games by the world’s rules we belong to the world. The word ‘chosen’ means elected. To be chosen by Jesus, by necessity, means to be rejected by the chaos and unconsciousness of those that serve other values. He is preparing them for the opposition that will intensify the more closely they identify with Jesus and his values.
Dear God, sometimes we are not quite sure what we are made of. One moment we are following standards of success or acquisition that feel, even to us, a little iffy. The next moment we are doing all we know how to do to help others. So maybe we are still a bit ‘of both worlds.’ Help us today to choose you and your world more and more. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 6 – John 15:20 - 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. The word ‘remember’ means to make something a present lived reality again. ‘Persecute’ means to put to flight or to drive out. ‘Kept’ means to guard from loss. In
other words, we may expect the same treatment Jesus got. Those who recognize him will recognize him in us and listen to us. Those who do not will resist every act of love and growth in us or in the church.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to so identify with you, and to be continually transformed by your love, that we will be able to meet any opposition, external or internal, with grace and gratitude. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 7 – John 15:21-22 - 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. The interpretive to key to what he is saying in this section is that people hate followers of Jesus because the haters do not know Jesus nor God through him. Jesus doesn’t want them to blame themselves for what is not theirs to carry. He is asking them, when opposition comes, not to take it personally. The word ‘sin’, hamartia, comes from archery and means to miss the target. It is used of sin as a principle or a source of moral action, not as a single infraction. So, shockingly, Jesus says that those who reject him know the principles of the way of love, but reject them. This may not have resulted in doing so called ‘bad things’ but has definitely resulted in a polluted core or source. If they had not been shown the way, they would have had no responsibility to live it. They had been shown, so they have no excuse.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we know better than we do. Help us today to align our thoughts and behavior to our faith and the principles you have shown us. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 8 – John 15:23-24 - 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. The word ‘hates’ here is in a form that doesn’t just mean dislike or animosity. It indicates a total life shaped by rejection of the revelation of God in Jesus and his teachings. In other words, if they reject love consistently over time, they reject God who is love. John often relates hate with sin. Scholar Gail O’Day says that to relate to God through an ethic of hate is the ultimate of all sins. In verse 24, Jesus tells them again that he has shown people clearly who God is and what God values. If he hadn’t they would not be morally responsible. He further says that they have ‘seen’ (discerned clearly) and rejected anyway. In John, sin is rejection of Jesus and what he taught.
Prayer: Dear God, we know how to get so embroiled in what we think we want that we cease to see you clearly, too. Clear our eyes today, soften our hearts, make love evident, so that we can in some way help those who reject the walk of love with you to take your hand and follow. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 9 – John 15:25 25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’ Here John indicates that Jesus identified his adversaries as the Jewish establishment leadership. ‘Their law” is a put down. The quote could be Psalm 35:19 or 69:4. Here Jesus recognized with a sense of inevitability that leadership and dogged commitment to power and dogma result in unjustified hatred. Wow.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes even we, your beloved followers, can confuse our partial understandings and commitments to a place of privilege in the world with what you value most. We too can come to hate the new voices of those you send to lead us home. Help us, Lord, to cherish what is good in our traditions and privileges, but never more than we cherish your guiding hand that expands our minds, hearts and souls. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 10 – John 15:26 - 26 ”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. This is the third promise of the Spirit in John. It comes with a new promise. The Spirit, through us and inside us, will testify to Jesus. That is, the Spirit inside us will help us see Jesus as work both within our own hearts and in others. Spirit will also help us see what is not authentically Christ even if disguised as Christ. In John’s theology, evil must be seen as evil and condemned in order for kingdom life to be full. Only a Spirit filled person can be assured of being able to do that rightly.
Prayer: Dear God we thank you for sending your powerful Spirit to live within and among us so that we can tell truth from lies and good from evil. Awaken us to Spirit’s subtle methods that we may follow your truth alone. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 11 – John 15:27 - 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. This is an interesting verse. ‘Testify’ from the word for martyr, means to bear witness as one would do on the witness stand under oath in a trial The witness must be first hand. Our witness is not just telling what Jesus said or did. It is telling what we ourselves have experienced of Jesus’ presence and truth in our own lives. In other words, witness is personal. ‘From the beginning’ is unclear. He could be speaking directly to those disciples who had followed him from his first days. It could also refer to one’s conversion or even to the beginning of time.
Prayer: Dear God, give us the courage and grace to find our own story in you and to tell it to those who have forgotten what it is to be ruled by love, or who never knew. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 12 – John 16:1- “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. (Remember that chapters in the Bible are arbitrary. They do not necessarily indicate a change or shift in the narrative. They were created by scribes when they got to the end of a scroll and wanted to know where to pick up on the next one. Verse numbers were added later to help readers in worship find their place.) ‘These things’ refers to the teaching on the opposition from the world. ‘Stumbling,’ means to fall away from faith, to be entrapped, to trip up. Jesus wants to be sure that if hard times and opposition come that it will not cause us to lose our faith.
Prayer: Dear God, in hard times, we are prone to stumble, to look down and not up, to point the finger rather that accept your embrace. Help us today to cling tenaciously to you so that we may keep our footing in these challenging days. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

March 13 – John 16:2-3 - 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. 3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. ‘Put you out of the synagogue’ is a huge, huge, huge deal. It means to be made apostate, to be outcasts, to be cut off from the means of grace as the synagogue understood them. Scholars believe that John is finishing his gospel shortly after the expulsion has taken place. ‘Hour’ refers to a season of time. ‘When’ indicates that what has happened has a purpose. ‘Worship’ means to offer a divine service to God. That is why we call our worship a ‘service.’ Jesus is setting the stage here for coming martyrdom. ‘Known’ means to full know from intimate personal experience.
Prayer: Dear God, teach us to have understanding of why opponents behave as they do. Help us, no matter the cost, to pray for them that they may meet and know you and allow your love to rule and reign in their hearts and actions. We ask the same, in all humility, for ourselves as well. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 14 – John 16:4 - 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. Jesus tells them that he wants them to be prepared and explains that he waited to tell them clearly of the opposition that they would face because he was still with them and could help and guide them physically.
Prayer: Dear God, how kind you are with your timing. You know just how to lead us, just what we can comprehend, just what we can bear and when. We thank you for this grace and welcome what is ours to learn today! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 15 – John 16:5-6 - 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Jesus is amazed that they are not more curious about where he is going. Still, he sees that they are stuck in the sorrow his words have unleashed in them. The word ‘sorrow’ means to bear a great heaviness. Jesus knows that his departure is necessary for his friends fulfillment but they can’t hear it because they hurt so much at the thought.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we get stuck in a heavy sorrow as well. We know that it is nearly impossible to see the big picture, to find your love or presence, when grief overwhelms us. Help us today. Lift our sorrows and fears so that we may see again the path of life and love that you set before us. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 16 – John 16:7- 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. ‘The truth’ refers to essential truth, the essence of truth itself, not general truth but complete truth. What is the truth to which he refers? That Jesus himself is the revelation of God. He then gives the fourth promise of Spirit. Remember that the Paraclete is one called or sent for in order to assist another, to stand by and help resist evil, to plead our case. The Spirit’s ministry is to make Jesus and his work present after he is gone.
Prayer: Dear God, how we welcome the embrace and help of your Spirit. Thank you for giving us an advocate to plead our case, to stand by our side, to remind of us all that is true, good and loving. Fill us more and more with an awareness of the ways that Spirit works in us and in the world so that we may live in peace. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 17 John 16:8-9 - 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; A couple of notes, the Spirit is not referred to in the masculine. In Hebrew, Spirit is feminine. In Greek spirit is neuter. The masculine pronouns are added by translators. The word ‘wrong’ does not appear in the Greek text but was added by translators in an attempt to clarify the meaning. ‘Prove’ means to expose or convict. ‘Do not believe’ refers to ongoing rejection. This is the language of the law court. Spirit is the defense attorney for the faithful, and prosecutor of all that opposes the disciples and the law of love.
Prayer: Dear God, we are grateful for your advocacy and for making the clear case for our acquittal in Christ. Help us today to make your case clear to all we see. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 18 – John 16:10-11 - 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
This is the only instance in John that this word for righteousness occurs. In Paul the word refers to behaving rightly or being made right by Christ. In John, however, it carries the meaning of vindication. The word judgment (krisis) refers to separating good from evil in a kind of forensic sense. ‘Ruler of this world’ refers to all oppositional forces. We usually personify those forces as Satan or the devil. The tense here is for continuous action. He is saying that the opposition forces, in the heart and the world, are continually judged (sorted) by the work of Christ through the Spirit.
Prayer: Dear God, we know that you constantly separate love from hate, love from apathy, love from greed and more. We thank you that, through the work of Christ, we may find ourselves on the side of love. Help us in our own hearts to open to your sorting and refining that we may be ever more Christ-like in all we think and do. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 19 – John 16:12 - 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. The word ‘bear’ refers to the physical act of holding something heavy. The tenderness of this verse brings me to tears! Jesus knows that there is much more to him, to God, to the kingdom, than his friends can comprehend at the spiritual level where they find themselves. That is, obviously, true for us as well. Here Jesus displays once again that he cares so much about us that he will not even burden us with spiritual knowledge that we cannot yet absorb. After the Ascension, with the gift of Spirit, new levels open when we are able to walk through their doors.
Prayer: Dear God, your kindness and beauty are beyond all words to declare, so we, today, pray our love and not our understanding, our gratitude and not our small need. We love you and we thank you for all that you are, all that you give and for our precious lives lived with you. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 20 – John 16:13 - 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. The word ‘truth’ (Alethia) refers not to fact versus fiction. Rather it refers to essential truth, to the essence of truth. ‘Will guide’ is a phrase that means to be a chief that leads the way. We see in this section, early glimpse of the dance like interrelationship in the Godhead that comes centuries later to be formulated as Trinity. The word ‘declare’ means to proclaim what is heard. In other words, Jesus is saying that there is a reality in us (Spirit) that seeks to bring us to truth, especially about ourselves.
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for the daily ways that you show us the essence of what is true, the fineness and inexhaustibility of love and life itself. O Spirit, prepare our hearts to hear you, to feel your nudges, to see what is ours today to see. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 21 – John 16:14-15 - 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ‘Glorify’ means to make something shimmering, brilliant and inescapable. These words have a bit of a mystical tint to them. In essence, what he is trying to tell them is that he (his words and work) will not be locked in the past after he is gone. They will be reanimated in new and changing circumstances. Why? Because they are the essence of truth and that essence never changes. Even the future (absence) will be filled with Presence. Why? Because Jesus reveals God and Spirit reveals Jesus.
Prayer: Dear God, it is so easy for us to focus upon and amplify feelings of distance or absence. Today, shake loose those bonds inside us and help us to notice your Spirit’s work in us and all around us, declaring in ever changing and immensely subtle ways, the essential truth that Jesus taught us. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 22 – John 16:16 - 16 ”A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” ‘A little while’ (mikron) means very soon. It usually refers to an interval of intense expectation and is sometimes associated with end times. Augustine interpreted this verse to refer to Jesus’ return to earth at the close of the age. I think it can also refer to all the ways that Jesus comes again to us, in word, worship, sacrament, church, insight, spiritual growth…the list is endless. The point is, that confusion and grief can cloud our ability to see Jesus for a time, but we will again see.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes our eyes are clouded by life’s difficulties and they are that we can see. We focus on what we think you ‘should’ do about our concerns but haven’t. When we are stuck in that place, we ask you to lift our hearts, clear our eyes and restore us to a felt sense of your presence with us. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 23 – John 16:17-18 - 17 Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” The tense of ‘said’ in verse 17 means kept on asking incessantly. They are utterly confused by what he has said to them. They want him to be concrete about that which is anything but concrete.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we, too, get confused by your words. We approach them in a solely literal way and get stuck. Help us today to open to a larger vision, to trust you to take us forward even if we have little understanding and confusion seems hard to bear. Remind us that this journey we undertake with you is all we need for today, and each day. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 24 – John 16:19 - 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? The word for ‘knew’ (gino) means to know from intimate experience. Jesus knew them well. He knows us well, too. He knows the questions in our minds and the doubts in our hearts. He knows the desire for certainty, for truth and direction in order to make sense of life and feel in control at least a little. He also knows how much bigger is all is. Even so, he reaches out with tender understanding to articulate his friends questions and prepare to answer them as they can bear.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for seeing and knowing us, for meeting us where we are and, with tender patience, addressing our questions and needs. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 25 – John 16:20 - 20 Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. ‘Very truly,’ (amen amen,) introduces a new and authoritative teaching. ‘Weep and mourn’ refers to the lamentation and grieving at a death. ‘Pain’ can also be translated as grief. ‘Turn’ means to become something else. ‘Joy’(chara) can also be translated as delight or gladness. It is a kind of joy that is independent of circumstances. It is immoveable and eternal.
Prayer: Dear God, as the disciples’ grief dissolved after the resurrection and the gift of Spirit, may we, too, open to the power of your love and presence that cannot be shaken by our troubles and that provides us a window into eternity. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 26 – John 16:21 - 21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. Here Jesus introduces a short parable using everyday life experience to help them put their pain into perspective. It is interesting that the word chosen for ‘pain’ is the word that is usually reserved to speak of emotional pain rather than physical. Some have suggested that Jesus intends to imply that their fear is worse than any physical pain. ‘Anguish’ means tribulation, suffering, persecution. In the Old Testament, childbirth is often a metaphor for the coming of God’s salvation (Is. 26:17; 66:7-17 for example.) Here Jesus is alluding to their transformation as a community after his death.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes when the hour of pain is upon us, we cannot believe it will ever end. We cannot believe that something new and beautiful is being born in and of us. Help us today to hold fast in faith to the truth that you are bringing us to term in exactly the way we need. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 27 – John 16:22 - 22 So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. Jesus acknowledges where the disciples are. He understands their emotional pain. He tells them that they will see him again (not just in resurrection experiences) and that their joy will be permanent, eternal.
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for your promise of joy in this life and the next. Help us to live that promise today even if we do not yet feel it. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 28 – (Palm Sunday) John 16:23-24 - 23 On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. Now! Heads up here! The word ‘ask’ is the word for to ask questions, not to ask for a gift or blessing. What Jesus is saying is that on that day of awakening, when we see him clearly again, all our questions will be answered; that is the questions that we ask in Jesus’ name, consistent with who he is and his values. When we go to God with our questions, in the Spirit of Christ, answers will be given. When we know who Jesus is, who God is, who Spirit is, we will know joy. The word ‘complete’ means whole, fulfilled or perfected.
Prayer: Dear God, with each new awakening to your Presence, our joy grows and becomes more durable. Help us today to open our eyes, to still our thoughts, to find you in the spaces we clear for you. Help us to rest in the knowledge that your will for us is joy eternally. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 29 - John 16:25 - 25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. ‘These things’ refers to all of Jesus’ teaching. ‘Figures of speech’ refers to parables, proverbs, riddles or stories…Jesus’ preferred teaching method. ‘The hour is coming’ refers to the cross in which he completes the revelation of the nature of God. He uses words here that indicate something made plain and indisputable. The amazing nugget in this verse is that ‘the hour’ (the betrayal, the cross and the resurrection taken together) reveal plainly who God is.
Prayer: Dear God, how humbling it is to ponder a man on a cross as a picture of who you are. It tells the story of a love that is beyond us, a love so expansive that it is willing to suffer for and with us. During this Holy Week, we offer ourselves to you anew. Help us to ponder the mysteries deeply and to be changed by looking Love in the eye. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 30 – John 16:26-27- 26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. Jesus is saying that when he has completed his work on earth he will no longer be an intermediary between us and the Father. Why? Because there is no longer a separation. We will have access to exactly the same intimate communion with the Father that Jesus does. Why? Because the Father loves us (philios…the love of deep family affection.)In verse 27 ‘have believed’ is in the tense for continuous action for all time. I think ‘from’ might better be translated ‘out of’. It is not a word about being sent. It is about being of the same substance. These are verses to sit with and allow to unfold inside you.
Prayer: Dear God, how can your love for us be this radical, this timeless, this complete? It is more than we can comprehend. Ground our lives in Christ, O God, that we may open up more and more to your boundless love for us and for our brothers and sisters across the whole earth. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

March 31 – John 16:28 - 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” This one verse is a summary of John’s Gospel. Jesus came to make new and true relationship with God both possible and evident. Now, Spirit will work inside to teach and transform our lives.
Prayer: Dear God, we praise you for your great love that could not be contained in heaven but had to be closer to us than even our own skin. Help us today to carry humbly the Spirit of Christ inside us so that your love may shine from us. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

April 1 –(Maundy Thursday) John 16:29-30 - 29 His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” The disciples declare that they have finally figured it all out. The events of the next days will prove that they have not.
Prayer: Dear God, sometimes our insights are so fleeting. On this Maundy Thursday when we pause to remember our betrayal and misunderstanding, we ask for forgiveness for our shallow discipleship and haphazard practice that leaves us vulnerable to betraying you again and again and again. Mend us, O God, and heal the wounds that lead us astray. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

April 2 – (Good Friday) John 16:31-32 - 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. Verse 31 drips with irony. Jesus knows the human heart well. This is an interesting declaration because it is so confident of the experience of Presence. Even Jesus, we will see later, has to feel the crying ache of absence as he suffers on the cross. Perhaps we learn from that that confidence in Presence has to be held together with the experience of Abandonment.
Prayer: Dear God on this holiest of days, help us to stop once again and sit in humble gratitude before the cross. Help us to hold our own confidence and pain together and in so doing experience our oneness with you in an even deeper way. We thank you, God, for your holy way. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.

April 3 – (Holy Saturday) John 16:33- 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” ‘Peace’ is the mark of conquering the world, both internally and externally. The word, irene, includes the cessation of hostilities, yet in the New Testament, it most often refers to a kind of internal coherence, the lack of fractious thinking, and interior turmoil that results from an over emphasis on circumstances. It is the ultimate defeat of the powers of opposition, chaos, pain and evil. ‘Persecution’ (thilipsis) refers to affliction, tribulation and crushing burdens. ‘Conquered’ can also be translated ‘mastered’ or ‘overcome.’
Prayer: Dear God, on this Holy Saturday, as we sit in the between-time with our long ago ancestors who grieved your Absence so deeply, help us to stay with the feelings and not leap ahead too fast, so that when morning comes and we see again that the tomb is empty, we may feel a new a powerful gratitude. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.