Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lent daybook, 16: do not fear what you are about to suffer

My Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you? (see previous Lent daybook 2016 posts here)

A new icon for the 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya, 2015
Tony Rezk


O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands. / 

 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’...

God of the covenant, in the glory of the cross your Son embraced the power of death and broke its hold over your people. In this time of repentance, draw all people to yourself, that we who confess Jesus as Lord may put aside the deeds of death and accept the life of your kingdom. Amen. (source)


h/t: Global Worship blog

( I invite you to listen with me to my ever-evolving Lent playlist & Lent Spirituals playlist )


A year ago this month, 21 followers of Christ lived out the upside-down call of the Gospel to count nothing -- even their own lives -- more precious than the worship of Christ.

Today's reading from Revelation calls those "who have an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches..." It feels to me that, instead of responding to the outrageous discipleship of these Coptic Christians with a renewed commitment to live with the same sort of outrageous love, the American church has instead renewed rhetoric of fear, hatred for our enemies, and worship of personal safety and economic flourishing.

Today, may we confess our sin and truly follow Christ above all other gods. Lord, have mercy on us.


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2015 here)

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