7 During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
I’ve noticed something lately during our worship services together – when we have our “Prayer of the People” time, and we’re asked to share aloud prayers, as a group, we’ve struggled to name joys yet have been quick to share names and events of concern. What does this tell us? People are hurting. People are struggling. People are feeling weighed down by anxiety, stress, responsibilities, fear for their own health and safety or the health and safety of a loved one, and people are overwhelmed by the wars and violence happening around the world. The first thing I want to say is that you’re not alone. When we worship together, both those in the room and those joining virtually are also being weighed down by the chaos that comes with being human.
We see you. We hear you. And we want support you.
Lent is a time to really meditate over our faith, and what death and resurrection mean in our spiritual journey. Here, our writer, Paul, speaks to the last days of Christ and what His suffering meant for us. Bring your attention to verse seven: “…Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death.” What I think is so important here is Paul’s focus on Christ’s prayers, Christ’s cries, Christ’s fear. Jesus is God – He knew exactly what was going to happen. But Jesus was also human, and humans, even “perfect” ones, even ones with absolute faith, experience anxiety and a need to cry out. Your being overwhelmed by the weight that exists in your life, and that leading to fear and doubt – know that God feels that too.
This lent, if joyful faith is not what you’re experiencing – know that your prayers and cries are shared by our Lord and allow yourself to share and express those feelings. Bring them to God, the one who saves, the one who resurrects.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Take a moment to simply sit with yourself today. What are you feeling – in your body, in your mind, in your spirit? What needs to be brought to God today, even if in the form or tears or prayers?
Prayer: Holy Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
As We Begin Lent
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.