Daily Scripture and Prayer….March 2020….Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
This month we are going to spend the entire month in one story. It is the story of Jesus’ interaction with a woman of Samaria. This is a pivotal text in John’s gospel and marks an extraordinary advance in the theology that Jesus lives and presents. To understand it, we need a bit of background. The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is a complex drama told only in John. It is the longest conversation recorded in the New Testament. It is an encounter that breaks every rule of conduct of Jesus’ day. Men and women did not speak to one another in public. Theology was never discussed with women. Samaritans and Jews did not speak to each other period. In a hierarchical and patriarchal culture that was marked by racial and religious hostility and division, Jesus behaves in startling and unexpected ways.
According to Jewish tradition, the Samaritans were descendants of colonists brought into Samaria from several regions by King Shalmaneser of Assyria after he conquered Samaria in 722 B.C. Because of this mixed heritage, pious Jews did not consider them to be a part of the true Israel. The Jews believed that the Samaritans’ knowledge of the faith of Israel was superficial at best and opportunistic at worst. Samaritans were considered heathen and unclean, using the words of Israel’s faith as a thin mask for their pagan ideas. The Jews believed that false belief was the reason the Samaritans sought to stop Ezra and Nehemiah in their efforts to rebuild the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They were deeply despised.
The Samaritans, on the other hand, considered themselves to be pure descendants of the native Israelites, particularly the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. They claimed that the deportation in 722 was not final and complete, that their ancestors remained on the land and never left it. They traced their differences with the Judeans to a dispute with Eli over the location of the true holy place of God. They maintained that the Law of Moses stipulated Mt. Gerizim as the holy mountain, not Mt. Zion. Matters became worse, according to the Samaritans, when the “accursed Ezra” falsified the ancient texts and convinced the returning Babylonian exiles to erect a new temple in Jerusalem. The Samaritans believed that they were the true heirs of the covenant. The exact truth remains buried in history. What we do know is that these two groups regarded each other with deep animosity!
To help avoid confusion as you read, the scripture itself is presented in italics. I use the NRSV. Because John uses () so often to comment on his own text, my comments after will not be in italics and will be enclosed in . As you pray this month, take a moment to re-read the passage two or three times before you say the prayer so that it will sink deeply into your soul.
March 1 – John 4:1-3 - Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” – although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized—he left Judea and started back to Galilee. [In John, this is a major turning point in Jesus’ ministry. Now he moves into his teaching ministry. Some believe that this story is included at this point to explain the sizeable Christian community among the Samaritans.]
Dear God, sometimes rumors have major consequences. The Pharisees, so afraid of change and a threat to their point of view, spread rumors to which Jesus is forced to respond. Was he ready to leave Judea? We don’t know. Help us today to examine our resistances when they arise. Help us to mind our tongues and not try to force events to conform to our pre-conceived notions. Help us, too, to remember that, even when we fail to do our best, that you will simply find another path and continue your good work in us and the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 2 – John 4:4 - But he had to go through Samaria. [Going through Samaria was a theological imperative and not a geographical one. Going to the place of the outcast is an inner compulsion for Jesus. The point is to declare that Jesus comes to, and for, all people, especially the marginalized and despised.]
Dear God, As Jesus insisted upon visiting and engaging those who were most hated in his community, help us to do the same. It is so easy to want to stay only with those who are like us, those that we like and with whom we agree. Help us to reach across the lines of difference to embrace those most in need of your presence. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 3 – John 4:5-6 - So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. [The word for ‘tired out’ means ‘completely exhausted on every level.’ The word ‘journey’ means ‘trek’ or ‘way.’ It is sometimes used to describe an entire way of life. Many sacred encounters in the Bible take place near wells. Water is a symbol for cleansing and incorporation. Insights about the true nature of life and relationships come together here. It is in the presence of cleansing water and shared history that the two meet.]
Dear God, it tugs at our hearts to see Jesus so exhausted from his journey. He has come to the place of those his people see as unclean. What was it that exhausted him so? Was it just a long hot walk? Or was he soul weary from the prejudices of his day? Sometimes we are exhausted, too. We are tired from life’s daily grind. We are tired from our own broken hearts. We are tired from trying to overcome our own prejudices and go where the need is greatest. Help us today, Lord to be refreshed in our journey, and to sit and rest if we need to do so. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen
March 4 – John 4:7-8 - A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) [This must have frightened the woman. It let her know that Jesus was not playing by the rules of decorum. There was, then, no telling what he might do. Women usually came to get water in groups for a measure of safety as rapes were common. They came early in the morning. Now it is high noon. This tells us that she is an outcast from the other women. She is alone and unprotected.]
Dear God, When I consider the Samaritan woman, I cannot help but think of all of the outcasts who must sneak around the edges of society to get their basic needs met. I think of the wounds of rejection that have brought them to where they are. I think of women who cannot walk the streets alone in safety, of little ones who cannot find water at our border and who die alone. I think of their courage and their fear. Help us, Lord, when we see the vulnerable, to be the first to initiate relationship, just as you were. Help us to reach out, to calm fears, to break down walls. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 5 – John 4:9 - The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) [It is remarkable that she speaks and doesn’t immediately run away. Was it a natural curiosity? Did she have nothing left to lose? Was it something about Jesus that drew her in?]
Dear God, today we ponder the courage of those who have little left to lose. She could have run away. That would have been the sane and safe thing to do. But she chose to engage with Jesus. I am awed by that. Sometimes we also feel that we have little left to lose. Our lives don’t always look like our dreams. Even then, Lord, help us not to run from you but to seek to learn what you are up to for us and the community. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 6 – John 4:10 - Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” [We will stay with this verse for several days. There are three important concepts here that we will consider one at a time. Today: ‘gift of God.’ This phrase has three simultaneous meanings. It refers to biological life, boundless grace and Jesus himself. Jesus has sized her up and realizes that she does not see her life as a gift, that she is a stranger to grace, and she needs him. The root for ‘knew’ is the word for ‘fullness of knowledge.’]
Dear God, you size us up in a flash. You know when we are dissatisfied with our lives or circumstances. You know when our complaints out pace our gratitude. You know when we can no longer see our need for you and the grace of life itself. You know when our knowledge of you is incomplete and flimsy. Help us today to open our hearts to you. Help us to know the fullness of you and to live in your powerful grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 7 – John 4:10 - Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” [There is an important spiritual dynamic at work here. It is called the ‘ask/give’ pattern. It is a model of spiritual partnership in which asking for something begins a spiritual journey that allows a person to access a personal account filled with all that God has for us. Prayer is the way the account is accessed, and the account only contains that which is for the highest good for all concerned. We cannot draw out that which is not for the best even if we ask for it. Asking starts a process through which we also cannot fail to draw out that which is best for all involved. By using this construction, Jesus tells her (and us) that prayer is never fruitless.]
Dear God, today we ask for what we need. (Take a moment to bring your needs to God now.) As we ask you for what we need, we are grateful that you can sort our prayers for the best and highest good for all involved. So, we leave the bountiful answers to you and to your timing. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 8 – John 4:10 - Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” [Today ponder ‘living water.’ The phrase in Greek refers to essential life, the life-giving power that wells up in the soul.]
Dear God, we are amazed that you desire for us to know you fully and to give us all the essentials of a full and beautiful life. Help us today to trust you to fill us with just what we most need. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 9 – John 4:11-12 - The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” [She is a very practical person. The well is a man-made cistern probably 100’ deep. She is thinking literally. Jesus is thinking symbolically.]
Dear God, sometimes we fail to see your fullness because we get completely lost in the details we cannot comprehend. Help us today, to see beyond our narrow concerns to the grace you offer us and, through us, to our community. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 10 – John 4:13 - Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this well will be thirsty again,”
[Jesus is speaking metaphorically. He is trying to tell her that the world and its ways will not meet her needs. Nor will remaining stuck in literal mindedness.]
Dear God, how much time we waste thinking that anything other than you will really satisfy us! We think the next accomplishment, the next promotion, the next purchase, the next win, the next relationship, the next vacation will somehow fill us, somehow quench our thirsty souls. Help us today to see all of those things as gifts of grace, treasured and welcome, but never the real medicine our souls need. Fill us, Precious Savior, with exactly what we need, a special measure of your presence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 11 – John 4:14 – “but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” [Jesus uses an interesting word for ‘water.’ It refers to a gushing source or spring, as opposed to the manmade cistern where they have met. It is a word often used of the source of life itself. The early Christians understood Jesus to be the spring. The word ‘eternal life’ refers to the deep inexhaustible flow of life that has no beginning or end. It cannot be taken away or run out.]
Dear God, somedays we feel far away from our source. We feel like our days are running fast and running out. We feel exhausted and, in the presence of a world gone wild, powerless. Help us today to turn to the truth that we are a part of an inexhaustible flow of life and that it is your will that we have never ending access to all of its blessings. Let your love bubble up in us and overflow today as a prayer of praise that changes everything. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 12 – John 4:15 - The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” [It is important that she starts the ask/give process here. It is also worth noting that it is all about her at this point. Jesus realizes that while that is the case we will always be thirsty. She must break out of egocentricity to truly be filled. This explains why he pushes her in the next verse.]
Dear God, We, like our long-ago sister, long for a bit of ease in our lives. We work hard and would like to save a bit of our energy for other things. Sometimes we, too, think first only of ourselves and in so doing miss the larger things that, while they may not bring ease, bring true fulfillment. Help us to be aware of our needs today and also of the needs of others. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 13 – John 4:16 - Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” [We know nothing about the woman’s circumstances. There is no judgment here. Women had little choice in marriage. What her marital history suggests is that she was widowed and passed from brother to brother as each man died. Or, she was divorced by her husbands for being childless or being a poor cook. She has now probably been taken in by someone as a concubine, that is a lesser wife with no status. Remember, too, that there was a lot of fear and shame associated with being a widow. People believed that husbands died young to punish a wife’s sin. She would likely be shunned by other women or wives of higher status. This would account for why she came alone to the well and at an unusual time. Jesus is testing her to see if she will tell him the truth about her life and circumstances.]
Dear God, can we really be open with you about our lives and choices? Do we just shimmy away from thinking about them? Do we fail to bring them to you in prayer, certain that you know anyway, so why bother? Can we really look honestly at ourselves? Help us today to take a moment to bring our truth to you, not whitewashed, not excused, just the truth. We have no need to hide from you, to sow together fig leaves for an apron. Help us to know that and to trust you. It is always where the healing begins. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 14 – John 4:17-18 - The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you say is true!” [ Whenever you see an exclamation point in the scriptures, read it as if it were written in 25pt type all caps. It indicates a tense in Greek that communicates great emotion and urgency. Jesus is elated that she tells the truth! He doesn’t care about her past. He cares about her future and the only way to embrace that future is to be honest about the present.]
Dear God, what joy and release we feel when we bring our circumstances to you honestly and without defensiveness! Thank you for the intimacy of moments of truth. Thank you for the joy you express when we trust you. Thank you for accepting us where we are and preparing us for something better. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 15 – John 4:19-20 - The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” [See introduction for discussion about the mountains. Prophet: someone with a special divine gift. Now she is trying to test him to see where he is coming from theologically.]
Dear God, when we feel that you are getting close, too close, to the truth of us, sometimes we, too, put you to the test. When you are opening us up to new understandings, we fight about who is right. When you stretch us to be more loving and inclusive, we fight about whom to love and whom we may exclude. Help us, Lord, to drop the battles that we mindlessly use to stop the flow of change, the flow of love. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 16 – John 4:21 - Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” [It is astounding that Jesus engages in this theological discussion with her. And what a discussion it is! This marks a radical theological change. Worship is not about location. Nor is it about who is right and who is wrong in the theological fights of the day. Remember that in John, the word hour has multiple meanings. It refers to a moment in time but not just that. It is a moment when God’s glory is revealed in an undeniable way. More on that in a few days.]
Dear God, the hour of your glory is here and always coming. Help us today not to allow disputes, even about things that really matter, to make your glory hard to see or feel. Help us not to confuse habit with truth, preference with perfection. Help us to put our trust in you and change us as you will. Thank you for being bigger than our conflicts and finer than even our certainties. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 17 – John 4:22 - “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” [This is an interesting and confusing verse. There are six words in Greek that we translate as ‘know’ into English. Each has a different meaning. The word here refers to ‘the fullness of knowledge, the big and whole picture.’ The word ‘salvation’ refers to being made whole and put back together after being broken. Interestingly, there is a word in the text in Greek that is not translated into any of the English translations with which I am familiar. It is an article that modifies the word ‘salvation.’ It makes the phrase refer to a particular way of wholeness or salvation. He is not saying that the Jews had some exclusive right to heaven, which most didn’t believe in anyway at this point. He is trying to address the woman’s prejudice against him by telling her that in the grand scheme, full knowledge, the path of the Jews does lead to wholeness. She has been taught just the opposite.]
Dear God, we know that we so often do not see the big picture either. We don’t know what you are doing in the wide world. We don’t know what you are doing with others who believe differently. What we do know is that you provide a path, the perfect path for each of us to choose. Help us to lay aside our prejudices and trust that you are working out your wholeness for all your children. Use us toward that end today. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 18 – John 4:23 - “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” [We’ll stay with this verse for several days. Today focus on the word ‘hour.’ The early community of Christians by the time John wrote, understood this word to refer to the time of God’s ultimate glory and revelation, particularly, for them, it referred to the crucifixion. For John, the sacrifice on the cross was the revelation of the ultimate glory of God as sacrificial and saving love.]
Dear God, what does it mean for your sacrifice to be your ultimate glory? What does it mean for us to look at the cross to see the real meaning of life? We recoil from it. It is too much for us. We know that you died for sin so that we would not have to. We also know that we are to model our lives on you and be willing to sacrifice all for love, too. Show us today the ways that we can give ourselves up to love those who are lost and powerless. Give us courage to live as you lead. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 19 – John 4:23 - “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.” [Today ponder ‘true worshippers.’ The word ‘true’ does not mean theologically correct. It means ‘faithful’ or ‘sincere.’]
Dear God, help us to be faithful and sincere in our worship of you. When we falter, lift us up and restore us to the community of your followers. It is your deep desire and ours as well. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 20 – John 4:23-24 - “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.’ God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” [Today ponder ‘in spirit and truth.’ In spirit means in direct connection to God. The word for ‘truth’ here refers to that which is morally true, genuine or real.’ What Jesus is saying is that sincere worship only happens in a spirit of moral integrity, genuineness and self-awareness. It is that state that the Father longs for in those who worship. Also notice the phrase ‘God is spirit.’ This never occurs in the Old Testament. It is important because it says that God is located everywhere and not tied to a plot of ground. The word ‘must’ means ‘necessary.’ To worship God, it is necessary that we enter into the vastness of the spiritual and moral realms.]
Dear God, you tell us that worship is not possible apart from both spiritual awareness and moral integrity. Open us to signs of your Spirit around us and within us today. Hone our moral awareness that we may see ourselves, change where needed, and become a more compelling force for true goodness in our community and our church. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 21 – John 4:25 - The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes he will proclaim all things to us.” [The Samaritans understood Messiah as being a special person they called the Restorer who would put things back in order for the people so that they could live out God’s promises. She is beginning to wonder about Jesus. Notice, too, another one of John’s parenthetical explanations to his non-Jewish audience.]
Dear God, how we need restoration, as individuals, as a community, as a church, as a nation. We know that you provide that restoration. We simply need to choose to live it out. Help us to turn to your Son Jesus the Christ when we need greater understanding and a road map home. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 22 – John 4:26 - Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” [It is impossible to over emphasize the dramatic impact of this verse! The phrase ‘ego eimi’ (I am he) is the ‘absolute I am.’ When Moses pressed God for God’s name and identity at the burning bush, God responded by saying that God’s name is “I am.” Here Jesus takes that name as his own. What he is saying to her is that, in him, God is speaking directly into human life. This is a huge wow moment. Jesus not only accepts the title of Messiah but expands the whole notion.]
Dear God, we cannot imagine how the Samaritan woman must have felt hearing these words. Could she believe that everything she had ever hoped for, prayed for and needed was standing right in front of her? Could she possibly believe that God was fulfilling all of God’s promises for her right in that moment? Can we? We thank you for your promises fulfilled in Jesus. Help us to see and to believe. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 23 – John 4:27 - Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” [We don’t know how much of the conversation the disciples heard. Whether it was the fact of the conversation or its content, the situation has rendered them speechless.]
Dear God, your wild inclusive love silences us too sometimes, doesn’t it? We claim that love for ourselves, but still we secretly wonder about it for others. There are those we do not think deserve it. There are those who hurt us and destroy the community and planet and we don’t want to share airspace with them much less see them as siblings in your household. Yet we know the wideness of your embrace. If we fail in understanding or if we resist your ways, keep us silent too! When we see and accept your radical inclusivity, help us to shout it from the mountain tops. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 24 – John 4:28-30 - Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. [She leaves her water jar! The old ways that sustained her are no longer useful. Note that while the disciples are speechless she is bursting with urgency to tell others what has happened. She becomes the gospel of John’s first evangelist by uttering the core of evangelism: come and see!]
Dear God, we too may have habits, or habits of mind, that need discarding for us to live the changed lives you have for us. Fill us with such passion for you that we may leave behind that which no longer serves our wellbeing. Help us to find the joy and hope we need to enter the community and invite others to come and see for themselves what Jesus can do for them. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 25 – John 4:31-33 - Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” [The disciples are concerned that Jesus, in his fatigue from the journey, gets enough to eat to restore his strength. They also must just want something normal to do as they process what has just happened.]
Dear God, even in their confusion with your ways, your disciples sought to take care of you and all of your material needs. As your disciples today, we don’t always understand you either, but we, too, want to take care of the material needs of your church, your body. Help us to know what it is that you need and want and to find ways to provide. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 26 – John 4:34 - Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.” [Jesus wants them to know that what really sustains and energizes is doing God’s will in one’s life. The word ‘complete’ means ‘to make perfect, to accomplish a goal.’]
Dear God, we want to do your will, too. Our problem is not even that we don’t know exactly what it is. We know your will is to love you and to love our neighbors. Our problem comes not with goals but with strategies. Help each of us today to see one clear strategy for fulfilling your loving will in our lives, homes and community. Thank you. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 27 – John 4:35-36 – “Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvest. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” [Jesus uses an old proverb here. The early community understood the reaper to be the church, the sower to be the Old Testament ancestors and the seed sown to be Christ.]
Dear God, there are so many people who are ready for restoration, for love and healing. They just no longer believe that they can find it in you or in your church. We have not always demonstrated your love well. We’ve even been mean and hateful. We are so sorry, and we ask that you mend us and give us another chance to love your children into your presence. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 28 – John 4:37-38 - “For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” [Spiritual progress has a history and is communal. Growth happens with others.]
Dear God, we live in such individualistic times. We think that we can find you alone, understand you alone and worship you alone. What we fail to grasp is that when we try to do that we are at the mercy of our own unhealed egos. When that is all we have, it is a cruel master indeed. Help us today to recommit to life together in the faith community. Help each one of us today to find the simple words we may need to help others see the need for community as well. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 29 – John 4:39 - Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.” [Believing, that is trusting, comes from hearing the word.]
Dear God, how can people trust what they have never heard? How can they find you if we do not tell our stories? Help us, Lord, to find opportunities today to share who you are to us and what that has meant in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
March 30 – John 4:40-41 - So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. [Notice that Jesus stays with them for a time. Faith grows from relationship over time.]
Dear God, help us to find moments today to linger in your presence and learn from you. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.
March 31 – John 4:42 - They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” [Time spent with Jesus and with others makes the faith personal. This story ends in a truly remarkable way. A woman who was outcast and whose word would not have been admitted as testimony in a court of law becomes the first evangelist of the Christian church. Through her courage others find Jesus for themselves. It is worth noting that it is the outcast community that seems to be more open to Jesus than his own faith family.]
Dear God, Today help us to testify to who you are in word and deed, so that your children who are feeling lost and filled with unnamed longing may find you through our efforts. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.