Daily Devotional August 27 2021

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Psalm 16, 17; 1 Kings 5:1-6:1,7; Acts 28:1-16; Mark 14:27-42
 
“Please, take this cup away, I don’t want it…but it’s Your call, not mine, Lord.” This is Jesus speaking in the Garden, right? And what’s the response from the Father? “This cup isn’t going away, but You won’t be alone. My love also never goes away.”
 
This thing called life is filled with joys and wonders, and sorrows and woe. In the former, we need to be grateful. And in the latter? Well, sometimes we can actually do something to mitigate, eliminate or at least bring good out of sorrows and woe. When that’s the case–when you can make lemonade out of the lemons, when you can undo an injustice, when you can make things better for the next time around–then by all means, do so! We’re called by God to work in His garden, to keep it and till it. That’s how we turn Gethsemane, which is a garden of sorrows, into Eden, which still has its problematic snakes and occasional bouts of loneliness (see Genesis 2) but is on the whole a great place to spend your time.
 
But there are times, friends, when all the tilling and keeping in the world isn’t going to alter the terrain. Times when sorrows and woe are just the cost of doing business. The relationship that will never be repaired, the mistake that will never be corrected, the opportunity lost for which there is no do-over, the medical report that is what it is. Such is life. And it’s okay to ask God for a miracle, so long as we remember that even if that doesn’t materialize, God’s good will for us will still be working itself out, just not how we’d like or on our time frame. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross called it the acceptance stage of grief: this sucks and I can’t change it, but it’s not going away and I have to work with as best I can. The stage, by the way, which she so famously says is where we need to be in order to move beyond our grief into new life.
 
Jesus goes through His stages of grief. Oh, He’s too smart for denial, but there is some anger (turning over tables and chasing moneychangers with whips), there’s some bargaining (let this cup pass…), there’s even some depression (you’ll all leave Me, you can’t even bother to stay awake and pray for Me). But Jesus moves very, very rapidly to acceptance. And in those moments when life hands us lemons and no lemonade is possible, that’s what we should try to do as well. To pray for a miracle while accepting that we’re not guaranteed or owed one.
Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson

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Grace Church is the oldest Episcopal parish in the four states area.
Rooted in worship of the Risen Christ, we draw our understanding of His commandment to love one another from Holy Scripture, reason and tradition—and we encourage our membership actively to seek a deeper personal relationship with Christ, a relationship founded in love of God and of neighbor.

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