Monday of Pentecost 20 – Prayer of the Week

Almighty God, You invite us to trust in You for our salvation. Deal with us not in the severity of Your judgment but by the greatness of Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

One year, when I was young, my father got a Christmas card from the President. It was a very large and impressive Christmas card, embossed with the presidential seal. Ok, to be truthful here, he did not get a card from the President. One of the members of his parish was an executive at Hallmark and they had a printing error on the cards which they were printing for the president. He grabbed one and played a little joke on his pastor. They both had a good laugh about it. Dad spent the whole Christmas season showing off his presidential Christmas card and letting people think it was real for a few moments. He took a strange delight in that.

Of course, the joke hung on how unlikely it would be that the President, I think it was Ronald Reagan at the time, would have sent a country preacher in Missouri such a card. It was so unlikely. Everyone whom he caught in his little humorous trap gaped at my father and was flabbergasted, until they saw him smirking and realized something was up.

We base this prayer on a fact which we must believe. We cannot prove it. Almighty God, yes, the one who created everything and keeps the planets in their orbits, that God, has invited you, the humble sinner whom you see in the mirror every morning. That is even more unlikely than country preachers getting a card from the President of the United States. God has done just that. It was not some blanket invitation like the president addressing his fellow Americans from our screens. This was a personal invitation, just for you. It may have come only days or even moments after were born, when you were reborn in the waters of Baptism. God spoke your name that day. He looked in the uniqueness of your eyes and memorized them. He called you son or daughter and promised to love you always. If you have it, dig out your baptismal certificate and read it again.

When I was a child, I trusted implicitly. I did not fear when my mother or father scooped me up from the crib. Indeed, I likely looked forward to it. Though they held me many body-lengths above the ground, I trusted their embrace, could fall asleep in it. Trusting gets harder sometimes when you get further along in life. God’s invitation to trust is creative. He created the faith that trusted in him on my baptismal day, and he continues to create that faith which trusts him today. God does save us because God is merciful to sinners. Trust it. Count on it. Expect it.

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