Monday of Pentecost 17 – Prayer of the Week

Lord God, heavenly Father, since we cannot stand before You relying on anything we have done, help us trust in Your abiding grace and live according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Human beings are trusting creatures, and this trait has only been amplified by the complexity of the world in which we lived. I have a neighbor who believes just about everything that shows up on her screen. The latest is that tomatoes cause arthritis, but we have heard from her any number of ideas which, in the moment, are fervently trusted. But it is not just my neighbor. You probably know someone who so believes in dietary supplements that their innards must surely be galvanized from all the zinc pills they have taken. It is unlikely that they arrived at these ideas or behaviors on their own. At some point they trusted someone.

This has only been exacerbated in these days of pandemic and internet conspiracy theories. One credentialed doctor says masks are bad; another says they are necessary. Should you get the vaccine or is it some means for the government or big pharma to do something wicked to us? A while ago news reporters at fires in Oregon reported that they were themselves attacked because the rumor was spreading among rural Oregonians that the fires had been intentionally set by the same liberal forces behind the riots in Portland. The culturally conservative rural Oregonians concluded the media were to blame. Multiple state and local officials vociferously denied this. Even the FBI came out denying this was the case. Who do people trust? Did folks in southern Oregon believe the rumors or the government? Whom would you believe? In times of fear that gets even harder to sort out.

The prayer is not so much a prayer for the ability to trust but that God would call us out of our foolish incompetence so that we trust in His abiding grace and act accordingly. The latest health or diet craze will not save me. God will. The latest conspiracy theory about some plot by the government or big pharma or big tech will not grip me in fear, but assured of God’s grace, I can go about the hard work of discerning the truth in this complex world. God has my life in his hands. No one can snatch me from him. That starts with a baptism in which, vulnerable, incompetent, and utterly helpless, we were washed with life-giving water and God expressed his amazing love to us. There is the news to trust, news upon which, aided by the Holy Spirit, you can build a life of joy and confident service.

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