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Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Jesus' words to Martha from John 11:25-26 are familiar, comforting words often read at funerals: "I am the resurrection and the life." Jesus' last question to Martha in that speech, though, is often left out: "Do you believe me?" When I read this passage, the question startles me, and I pause to consider my own answer. Do I believe that everyone who lives and believes in Jesus will never die? I am catapulted to Mark 9:24, where the father of the possessed boy says, "I believe; help my unbelief!" Like most of us, I live every day somewhere along the spectrum between belief and unbelief. Some days I am completely confident in God's resurrection power. On other days I am less sure, and I need more help with my unbelief. On those hard days I am grateful for the witness of the saints who have come before us, for the people at All Saints who hold me up, for clergy colleagues and friends, and for the grace of new mercies each morning.
Recently I have begun a more disciplined prayer life using an Ignatian method of prayer. I am using an app on my phone called "Pray As You Go" and I recommend it whole heartedly. The method consists of two parts: First, a quiet time with bells, music, a reading, a reflection and listening to the reading again. The second part is done near the end of the day when one reflects on the good and not so good of the day, what has brought life and light to your day as well as what has taken those things away. During the introduction to this phase the "Pray As You Go" app reminds the listener: "Know that you are in the presence of God. God rejoices that you have come however forgetful you may have been of God during the day." What a powerful reminder of God's love for us and God's desire that we return. God is always with us and always welcomes us into God's presence no matter our belief, unbelief, doubt or uncertainty. What is most important is that we reside with God and return always.
Lord, I need your help each day. I trust your promise, but so often I lived poised between belief and unbelief. Thank you for being present in my need, and for the witness of those who surround and sustain me with the signs of your mercy and grace. Amen.
See ya Sunday!
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