For quite some time now, I've been reading off and on from the Book of Common Prayer. More recently, it's been more on than off. I have found it helpful during those "spiritual desert" seasons. It has helped to guide me into prayer when I cannot even find words. It has helped me voice thanksgiving and praise, when I'm angry at God and then moves me out of that anger. It has given voice to prayers for others, when I would rather just not like them, moving me back to love of my neighbor. I have found peace in the words of prayers voiced in concert with thousands of others over hundreds and hundreds of years. I know some of you do not find peace in this, and that's okay. God speaks to us in different ways in different seasons. This is where I am.
If you are unfamiliar with the readings, each day has a reading from: the Old Testament, Psalms, the New Testament and the Gospels. A portion of today's gospel:
"Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, 'Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.' Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, 'I do choose. Be made clean.' Immediately the leprosy left him." ~ Luke 5:12-26 (italics are mine)
Our world is increasingly frightening. I am often overwhelmed. There are opportunities every single day that feel like I will be putting myself, and perhaps those around me, at great risk if I step into those opportunities. Some of those have hurt. Some of those have felt like failure - crushing failure. Jesus did not call me to be safe. He did not call me to live risk-free. He did not call me to live in protection-mode. He did not call me to be a success. He called me to reach out - to touch- the hurting, the people that have been deemed too far gone, or unsafe, or beyond help. This is scary. I'm certain I will be hurt, feel failure, in some of these opportunities.
Jesus had a choice. He leaves us with a choice everyday.
What will I choose? Will I choose to reach out to the broken, the hurting, the abandoned?
I pray I will choose as He did - as He does.
It is easier to circle the wagons and keep ourselves "safe", but this is not the way of our Jesus.
And this is scary. So, today I pray for courage.