the 7th sunday after pentecost
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty and ever-living God, you are always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and you gladly give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour upon us your abundant mercy. Forgive us those things that weigh on our conscience, and give us those good things that come only through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
[Jesus says to his disciples,] “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.”
the DEVOTION. . .
I never noticed, until this week. Luke tells this parable twice! Once, here in this week’s gospel. And again, with a few minor changes, seven chapters from now. In chapter 11, it’s an annoying friend at midnight. In chapter 18, it’s a widow and an unjust judge. But the “moral” of the story is the same. Persevere! Persist! Ask and keep on asking! Seek and keep on seeking! Knock until someone, finally, opens the door!
Now, that may be all well and good with judges and friends – good manners and common courtesy aside. But it concerns me when that becomes the way we treat god! Especially a god we believe – supposedly – loves us and has our best interests at heart. It seems to me that god already knows what’s going on! That god already knows what we need! That god is already providing, as Luther writes, “without our prayer”! Redeeming! Raising up! Without our help! Without our encouragement! It seems to me that kind of god wouldn’t need to be worn down or worn out! Instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads and folding our hands – and by the way, making crosses of our fingers! – and telling god all about it, maybe we should, simply, be listening for that still, small voice whispering in our ear … I’m here! I’ve got you! It’s okay!
Bob Barndt, pastor