RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, February 17, 2019
RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).
Main Idea: Jesus’ words bring hope to the hopeless.
In my humble opinion, this reading is often misunderstood. I’ve heard it used to beat down people who have enough money to live, who experience joy in their work or play, who do not appear to suffer. I’ve heard it used to exalt suffering, suggesting that suffering is the hallmark of a faithful follower. I think this interpretation is off.
Jesus was speaking to people who were suffering already. Jesus’ words were intended to bring hope to a hopeless people. His words to those in power condemned their behaviors – not because they had money, food, or laughter, but because they had those things at the expense of others, and at the exclusion of God. When we use our money, food, and joy to lift up others, Jesus rejoices with us all.
Several years ago, semicolon tattoos started popping up all over the world. The story behind it is inspiring. Founder Amy Bleuel suffered from depression, bullying, rejection, the suicide of her father, self-injury, addiction, abuse, and rape. Despite her struggles, she continued to hope. In spring 2013, to honor her father whom she lost to suicide, she started Project Semicolon. “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” The movement has caught fire and people all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos as conversation starters to raise awareness of mental illness and reduce the stigma. Suffering is a universal experience. Hope is, too. Jesus’ words of hope were necessary to help those suffering hang on until that day when their suffering would come to an end and they could look on God’s face once again with hope and joy.
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