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Daily Scripture and Prayer July 2020

Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church


This month we will be in a complex section of John’s Gospel (interrupted by a beautiful story of grace) as we make our way through inch by inch. These verses are not difficult because the words are hard, but rather, because they are deep. To understand them rightly, we have to move out of both our literal mindedness and some of our conditioning. Jesus is experiencing growing opposition and distrust from the Temple establishment. It is important to think like John’s community to understand the intent of these verses. By the time John writes, decades after the events he describes, his community has been expelled from the Temple by the Jewish establishment. It is those, sometimes powerful, always status quo, faithful ones that John usually is refers to as the ‘The Jews.’ They are symbolic to him of a mindset, one that all of us know very well when we are threatened. It can be too easy in these middle chapters of John to hear blatant anti-Semitism. Please try to avoid that at all costs! God is never anti-semitic, nor is Jesus. They are anti-unconsciousness. In these teachings, Jesus is trying to help his opponents, his disciples, and us, to see our blinders, to look at our assumptions, and to be open to new light. It doesn’t go well much of the time. Because Jesus is getting such opposition, many scholars believe a later editor of the Gospel inserted the beautiful story of the woman taken in adultery in the midst of the conflict narrative as a little picture of the Gospel in miniature. This story does not appear in many of the earliest manuscripts and, even though it sounds much more like the synoptic gospels, it is only found in John. 

Remember that the context of the following verses is still the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. Tabernacles, a fall festival, was one of the most popular annual feasts in Jerusalem. Pilgrims came. People camped out in homemade leafy shelters on rooftops or in fields. The feast lasted seven days and gave thanks for the harvest (wine, fruit, olives) and remembered God’s miracles of provision in the wilderness. It also anticipated the longed for Second Exodus when God’s kingdom rule would be fully established on earth and Israel would be restored and freed once more. There were many wonderful ceremonies during this feast. We’ll look at a couple as we go along. Suffice it to say, Tabernacles was a time for focusing on the gifts of God, past, present and future. 


d2020 oceanJuly 1 – John 7:37-38On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ [This is the pinnacle of the feast. At day break, the priests processed from the temple to the pool of Siloam. There they filled a golden pitcher with water and bore it ceremonially back to the Temple. When they approached the Water Gate on the Southside of the inner court, the shofar (ram’s horn) was sounded three times. Then they processed to the altar while the choir sang Psalms 113-118. Every man and boy present (women were not allowed) shook the lulab (a bundle of willow and myrtle tied with palm) with their right hands and held citrus fruit in the left. The chief priest approached the altar with two silver bowls of water and wine and reminded the people that God pours the a spirit of compassion on Jerusalem and opens up fountains to cleanse the people so that living water flows out of Jerusalem to the whole world and destroys all evil. It was said that the one who has not seen the joy of the water drawing has not seen joy in his lifetime. In the midst of that holy time, so rich with symbols, Jesus says that he himself is the water that cleanses and restores. He is the revelation of God’s restoring grace. The scripture quotation is probably either from Zech. 14:18 or Ez. 47:1.] 

Prayer: O God of grace and beauty, we thank you for all of the ways that you have poured your love on your people in all times and places. We especially thank you for the joy of learning your ways and being washed in your compassion. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 2 – John 7:39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. [John’s community associated the Spirit with water, and particularly with baptism. They believed that the Holy Spirit was not active prior to Jesus’ bestowing of the gift after his resurrection. Of course the Bible speaks of the spirit being active at the very beginning in creation but John’s community thought of the Spirit more as the Spirit of Jesus than the Spirit as later trinitarians came to understand it.] 

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you that we live in days filled with Spirit. Even as we face the difficulties of our times, we know that you are with us, within us and among us. We are grateful. Fill us today, Lord, with moments of wonder and awe. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 3 – John 7:40-42When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” [Some think that Jesus is Elijah returned. They believed that that had to happen before Messiah would come. Galilee was not ‘the best part of town’ and Nazareth was an outpost even there, known for renegades and wild characters. They apparently do not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The tradition of Bethlehem as the place of Messiah’s birth comes from Micah 5:2.] 

Prayer: Dear God, We know how to be so sure we are right and that our expectations must be met in ways that do not stretch us. We know how to look down on certain people and be sure they can’t amount to much. Help us today to open our eyes to your always new ways and your always inclusive love. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 4 – John 7:43-44 - So there was division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. [The word for ‘division’ is krisis. We will see this word translated differently later. What krisis reminds us is that new revelation always produces a crisis in which no one is allowed to stay neutral. They didn’t know what to do with Jesus yet, so, at this point, they do nothing.] 

Prayer: Gracious God, sometimes we, too, must make a decision about you. Sometimes we, too, must take a stand. And sometimes we are so confused by all the opinions swirling around us that we do know what decision to make, so we do nothing. Help us today, to see you clearly and to understand how we should respond in love as we have been so greatly loved. As we celebrate our country today, please show us how to heal and make us finer. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 5 – John 7:52-8:1 They replied “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [ Verses 45-52 take the whole controversy into the Sanhedrin (the ruling council.) Imagine the worst session meeting ever, with everybody name calling, throwing up their hands and going home mad. They cannot imagine having to rethink their certainties and yet some see that something new is happening. In the midst of this division and upset, John pauses in the next verses to insert a story of grace. The Mount of Olives was traditionally understood as the place that Messiah would appear.] 

Prayer: Gracious God, O how we hate ‘church’ fights! How is it that we are so dualistic in our thinking that we must always make someone right and someone wrong? And that someone wrong must never be us! We know how precious our faith is and we, too, want to protect its purity and power from misuse or dilution. In our zeal, Lord, do not allow us to close our eyes to the bigger picture of your love given to all and in so doing cause more harm than good. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 6 – John 8:2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. [This story is not a part of many of the oldest manuscripts and it clearly interrupts the flow of the narrative, but it is not included by accident. Some ancient manuscripts have it at the end of John. Others in Luke at chapter 21. There is a lot of controversy about the origin of the story, many believe it was a part of a lost Gospel of Hebrews, but it’s intent is without question. The powers that be are trying to entrap Jesus in order to have legal grounds to do away with him. Still, the massive flow of God’s unconditional grace stops them in their tracks. At least for a time.] 

Prayer: Dear God, today is a brand new day. We may not feel fresh and vigorous but we are ever so in your eternal plan. So, we gather, in spirit, with you and each other to learn from you and to experience your presence. Help us today to be open to the many ways you teach us. Open our eyes, Lord! We want to see you. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


d2020 walkwayJuly 7 – John 8:3-5 - The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said, “Teacher this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” [Adultery was a crime about a man’s property and his progeny. It applied only to sex acts with a woman who was married and it was a crime against her husband. Married men could have sex with multiple unmarried partners, it just made them secondary wives or concubines. By the time of Jesus, though, most marriages were between only two people. There is little evidence that the death penalty was ever meted out for adultery because you had to have two witnesses. The rabbi’s wrote that the extreme punishment outlined in the Old Testament for adultery was hyperbolic and intended more to stress the importance of fidelity to the community than to ever be carried out literally. Still, it could be. Apparently there were witnesses in this case. Interestingly, the man involved is nowhere to be found.] 

Prayer: Dear God, please do not allow us today to be like the scribes and the Pharisees and offer up hurting people as objects of scorn to make ourselves feel better, to prove a point or to meet hateful goals. Do not let us use people, shame and judge people, especially when we will not apply the same standards to our own lives and hearts. Mold us, Lord, and create space in us for love alone. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 8 – John 8:6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the sand. [Scholars for millennia have tried to figure out what Jesus was writing and why. There are a thousand guesses. My best guess is that this was his way of refusing to engage in the charade and entrapment. He just won’t play their game.] 

Prayer: O God, sometimes when we are stressed or frightened, we try to put you to the test as well. Will you magically fill our coffers? Will you miraculously cure our ills or heal our relationships? The desire for security, health and intimacy are worthy ones, and you never despise our prayers for them. But when we ask for things just to see if you are there, and when you do not answer as we want, we give up on you, that is when we are in trouble. Help us, Lord, to pray with pure hearts. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 9 – John 8:7-8When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. [This verse is a little confusing in Greek. There is a word that only appears here in the New Testament, anamartetos. We translate it to be ‘without sin’. It refers to specific missing of the mark. This is odd in John. He usually doesn’t link sin with specific behavior as much as with a state of unconsciousness or just not getting it at all (in the dark.) This is what has led some scholars to think this was a story from a different gospel tradition. Perhaps Jesus’ returning to his sand writing is a way of saying he is finished with them. Or perhaps he is giving them time to think.] 

Prayer: Dear God, Ouch! We are well aware that we would have had to creep away in shame ourselves if we had been there that day! Take the stones from our hands. Remove the sneers from our lips. When we are angry or disgusted with others, give us awareness and compassion instead. Thank you for your daily forgiving grace! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 10 – John 8:9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. [It is interesting that the elders leave first. The most mature can often know their own sin most clearly.] 

Prayer: Dear God, We thank you for the awareness that can dawn from years of failures. We know there have been many times when we have failed to live up to your name, many times when we preferred darkness to light. Thank you for gently revealing our shortcomings to us and helping us see ourselves more clearly. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 11 – John 8:10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” [The word ‘condemned’ means to force a consequence on someone.] 

Prayer: O God, what must she have felt as all that anger and judgment receded? What did she think? Did she think she had gotten away with something? Did she still fear what Jesus might do? How long did she just stand there watching him write in the sand? Was he writing a letter of forgiveness for her? Where was the man? Was she trying to protect him? Had she had any choice? Did he just leave her to face the consequences? Did he not want to watch her die? What would it feel like to feel the release from the consequences? God of grace, we thank you that you do not require us to pay the price for our wrongdoings! Help us to live new lives standing in front of you and telling you our truth! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 12 – John 8:11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” [There it is: grace in a nutshell. Utterly respectful, unconditional. She has neither confessed nor asked for forgiveness. She is just standing there, broken and alone, and grace flows. He doesn’t condone her behavior or even ask any questions about her culpability. He simply releases her into a new life and asks her to live it in the flow of God’s will. This is in stark contrast to the prevailing legal code. For Jesus, her awakening to a new level of consciousness is what matters. In this action, he encourages us to face our truth and not be destroyed by it. Rather, to be released from it into new life.] 

Prayer: Gracious God, forgiven and freed by you, we ask today that you will help us to live new lives worthy of your name. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 13 – John 8:12Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” [We pick up the narrative where we left off with Jesus back in the Temple speaking to those gathered there, disciples, seekers and detractors. It is helpful here to know another tradition of Tabernacles. On the first day of Tabernacles, in the Court of the Women, brightly lit golden bowls of oil were set atop huge candlesticks only accessible by ladder. The wicks were made from the worn out garments of the priests. Four priestly youths were on duty to replenish the oil throughout the celebration. Levites were assigned to play music and two priests blew the trumpet at cock crow. So in addition to water as a powerful symbol at Tabernacles, so was light. Remember that for John, light always refers to that which shows a person the way to God by enabling that person to have an enlightened consciousness and no longer walk in the darkness of ignorance and sin. Jesus says that he is the light that opens the consciousness and frees from sin.] 

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for the light of Christ in which we live and move and have our being! We thank you for each day’s epiphanies, for each new moment of awareness and grace. Help us to live the light and be light shedders in our homes and community. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


d2020 coveJuly 14 – John 8:13Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” [For John, the Pharisees symbolize the old consciousness that resists giving way to the new. The issue for them is not so much self-testimony as it is false testimony. They think he is lying because they have not experienced what he is talking about. The law required two witnesses for testimony to be considered valid.] 

Dear God, what will it take for us to take you seriously? How much more do we need in order to accept that you are who you are? Help us today to lean into you. Remove our resistance and embrace us completely! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 15 – John 8:14-15Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standard; I judge no one.” [Jesus is basically saying they don’t know what they are talking about and that they are using old thought patterns to try to make sense of a new reality. The word ‘judge’ is again, krisis, or decision point, dividing point. The word we translate as ‘human standards’, sarx, is a complicated word with a number of meanings. It refers to a limited state of consciousness that prevails when our understanding is conditioned by only what comes to us through our senses or the collective opinions of our culture.] 

Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we cannot see beyond our noses! We think that what we understand is all that there is. We think that what our cultures teach us is the totality of you. Open our hearts and minds, Lord, so that we can be renewed in accordance with your desiring. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 16 – John 8:16-18“Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” [Jesus is saying that he does not set up either/or dividing lines, but even if he did he wouldn’t do it according to their standards but out of intimacy with the Father who is his second witness.] 

Prayer: Dear God, it is only when we are enfolded in you, when we are filled by your Spirit, that we can make decisions for the common good. When we look only to our rules, it is too easy to make everything about us. Help us, Lord, to open ourselves today to a deeper experience of your indwelling love so that we may live in love everywhere we go. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 17 – John 8:19Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” [There are a number of Greek words for ‘to know.’ The one used here has to do with knowing fully and completely. This word is often used to describe standing, or not standing, in relationship with the other.] 

Prayer: Dear God, We know that we do not know you fully either but we are in relationship with you and we are growing. Thank you for not giving up on us! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 18 – John 8:20He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. [The treasury is in the outer most court of the Temple, where believers, unbelievers and women can go. He is speaking to anyone and everyone. There are few places where we are more resistant to change and new awareness than by the treasury! For John, ‘his hour’ refers to the glorification of the crucifixion.] 

Prayer: Dear God, Sometimes we need to listen to you intently when we are sitting with our bank accounts and our call to give in plain view. What do you have to say to us in that context today? In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 19 – John 8:21Again he said to them, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” [Jesus is still speaking to his detractors. He is talking about a state of awareness and intimacy with God that is eluding them. 

‘Sin’ is a darkened mind and heart, in John. It is blindly clinging to lies. If they do not open to what God is doing they will die in that darkness.] 

Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we search for you but only want to find you in accustomed ways. Is it any wonder that we search in vain? We thank you that you never give up on us. We thank you that each day a little more light dawns. Help us to welcome your light! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 20 – John 8:22-23Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below. I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” [They are so stuck in their cultural and literal thinking that they think Jesus is threatening suicide. He simply tells them that they are thinking on two different planes of reality.] 

Prayer: Dear God, ‘World think’ is so powerful. We are shaped by our times, by our upbringing, by what we have focused upon for most of our lives. Show us the shallowness of our thinking. Open us to see new ideas and options that are inspired by you. Thank you for inviting us into a whole new way of thinking! Help us accept your invitation. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


d2020 birdsJuly 21 – John 8:24“I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” [Here he is basically saying that they will die in the darkness unless they trust that Jesus is, and displays, who God really is. God is not to be found in their habit or their rules bound certainties. God is found in the new consciousness that is Jesus.] 

Prayer: Dear God, help us today to trust you more than our habits or habitual patterns of thought and behavior. Help us to put ourselves in your hands in all things. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 22 – John 8:25They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all?” [I love this! They just don’t get it and Jesus is frustrated beyond belief. Some commentators of John suggest that Jesus is not saying this in a fit of pique but that it is a sincere question asking them to reflect. You can decide for yourself!] 

Prayer: Dear God, why do we ask you to tell us over and over who you are? Are we just wanting you to find a way to say it that we like better, that makes more rational sense, that doesn’t tamper with everything we think we know to be true? Are we looking for ways to put you in a box and label it ‘Understood’? How silly we are to think that we can somehow contain mystery in language. Help us, Lord, to live into who you are more and more each day. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 23 – John 8:26-28 - “I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.” [The word ‘condemn’ means to hold accountable. The word ‘true’ means genuine and without error. What is really going on here? Is this just a conflict between Jesus and those ‘dumb’ Jews, the kind of reading that has led to rampant anti-semitism and pogroms? No! It is about a spiritual collision (not an ethnic one or even a religious one) that takes place even within an individual soul when a new awareness supplants an old one. Old and entrenched power often sees the new as trying to destroy it. The mystics talk about this as a deep inner resistance to the light.] 

Prayer: Dear God, we know how to resist the light and that there is much you could say to us on that subject. Help us today to practice letting go of our natural resistance to change and growth so that you can more easily make of us what you will. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 24 – John 8:29-30“And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. [It is helpful to remember that when John talks about the inextricability of the Father and the Son, he is not talking about function,, or even essence but about relationship.] 

Prayer: Dear God, as Jesus could never be pulled about from the eternal dance of intimacy that is One God in Three, we know that we can never be pulled from you either. As he was never alone, so we are never alone. Thank you, O God! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 25 – John 8:31-32Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” [‘Believe’ means to trust in. ‘Continue in my word’ means to bring the meaning of the words into life and to act on and grow in them. ‘Know’ here is a different word from the one I mentioned above. It is more of a process word. It means to know from intimate experience more and more over time. ‘Truth’, alethia, means that which is genuine. So knowing what is genuine and true is a process that takes place in relationship with Christ, intimately over time. It is that deep inner and growing knowing that sets a person finally free.] 

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for showing us what is genuine and true as we set our hearts and live our lives in you! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 26 – John 8:33-34They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” [Again, the establishment is stuck. Jesus says that those who choose to stay stuck are the real slaves.] 

Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we too feel stuck in so many ways. Free us from being stuck in old patterns that do not serve us or the community any longer. Free us from small mindedness and hard heartedness. Free us from any blocks to love and growth. Thank you! In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 27 – John 8:35-36“The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” [He is basically telling them that they cannot have a true place of stability if they live only on past glory. Only the Son has a permanent inheritance. The only freedom we have is to come into the light and grow into God’s will. Everything else is slavery.] 

Prayer: Dear God, we sometimes choose our enslavements because we don’t believe that you can truly change or heal us. Help us today to let go of all that keeps us stuck and to cleave to you in trustful hope. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


d2020 sunsetJuly 28 – John 8:43“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.” [Verses 37-43 are basically one long, lopsided theological argument that does little more than reinforce wondering why Jesus is talking to them at all! The Greek here implies that stubbornness is the root of the problem.] 

Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we are so stubborn we shock even ourselves. Sometimes we even try to make stubbornness into a virtue. We call it strength of purpose or something like that. Help us today to recognize real strength when we see it and stubbornness before we trip over it. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 29 – John 8:44  - “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [The word for ‘devil’ is diabolos and it means ‘to throw something across ones path’. It refers more to organized and intentional psychological or moral evil. ‘Kakos’ (not used here) refers to natural bad things. Here, Jesus is talking about evil as an organized force of power that obstructs progress into the light. The essence of evil itself is lies. And it is always intentional. The devil is just a way of personifying this evil.] 

Prayer: Dear God, As your beloved children, help us to be people of genuine and truthful character. Where we fall, lift us up and strengthen us to start again. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 30 – John 8:45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” [If darkness (lies) is your operating system, then the truth will not compute.] 

Prayer: Dear God, we live in days when people in power argue that truth has versions, that what is genuine is merely what is expedient. Help us, Lord, not to fall for that. Help us to make truth our operating system so that we may function as the children of light that you intend. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen. 


July 31 – John 8:46-47  - “Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”[Jesus is asking them to give him specifics of what he has said or done that is sinful, in the darkness. He is telling them that evil twists, distorts and denies the truth and basically makes the self impenetrable to the truth. It is not possible to hear and be changed by God’s words if ones loves the lies more than the truth.] 

Prayer: Dear God, sometimes we fall in love with our own lies, with the egos whispers that we are superior and that those who think or act or live differently are a threat to us. When we allow ourselves to marinate in that state we can no longer hear your word clearly. Please protect us from this! Show us where we are in error and correct us gently. In Jesus’ holy name we pray. Amen.