I trust you, Lord!
I affirm, "You are my God."
(from Psalm 31:9a, 14, CEB)
Look back at the last few chapters of Matthew's Gospel. Jesus has told several parables: the two sons, the wicked tenant, the wedding banquet, the ten bridesmaids, and the talents. Be prepared. Be faithful. Actions are important.
Now Jesus is describing a new kingdom, the one to be ruled by the Son of God. Some will be blessed. The king will say to them, "Enter my kingdom. You belong there because you have shown love for me when I needed it. You have provided me with food, drink, and clothing; you took care of me when I was a stranger; you have reached out to me when I was sick and when I was in prison."
His listeners cannot remember doing any of these things.
Remember the delay in the parables. Neither the wedding guests, the foolish bridesmaids, nor the fearful servant made very good use of their time.
As we determine the place of immigrants in our country, we might choose to obey the scriptural requirement to welcome the stranger (according to Allen & Williamson, the mitzvah "do not oppress the stranger" is repeated in some form 36 times in the Old Testament).
Are we reassured or frightened when we consider what Jesus was trying to get us to understand? Can we really see Christ in the marginalized? What if eternal life depended on it?
Psalm 31:9-18Yes, bad things do happen to good people--and to bad people as well. In those times when we are overwhelmed by depression or grief, in those times when our enemies and our friend make fun of us, or in those times when we don't think anybody even notices us, we can turn to the Lord.
How bad you feel in a particular situation will aid in you in deciding how much of this psalm is an appropriate prayer. I myself have had days when I have sincerely needed verses 17 and 18.
Prayer for Today: choose one of the Boy Scout Prayers (http://usscouts.org/scoutduty/sd2gc65.asp):
1. A SCOUT'S PRAYER
Lord, we thank you for this day.
Help us to do our best every day,
And forgive us when we slip.
Teach us to be kind to other people
and to help them at all times
Bless our parents and teachers and leaders
and all the members of Scouting
Bless us, Lord in your love for us
Help us to be a better Scouts
and let us do our best for you
2. A SCOUT'S PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help to keep my honor bright
And teach me that integrity of character
Is my most priceless possession.
Grant that I may do my best today,
And strive to do even better tomorrow.
Teach me that duty is a friend and not an enemy,
And help me face even the most disagreeable task cheerfully.
Give me the faith to understand my purpose and life,
Open my mind to the truth and fill my heart with love.
I am thankful for all the blessings you have bestowed upon my country.
Help me to do my duty to my country and
To know that a good nation must be made from good men.
Help me to remember my obligation to obey the Scout Law,
And give me understanding, so that it is more than mere words.
May I never tire of the joy of helping other people or
Look the Other way when someone is in need.
You have given me the gift of a body,
Make me wise enough to keep it health,
That I might serve better.
You are the source of all wisdom,
Help me to have an alert mind,
Teach me to think,
And help me to learn discipline.
In all that I do and in every challenge I face,
Help me to know the difference between right and wrong,
And lead me in obedience on a straight path to a worthy goal.
By Michael F. Bowman
3. A SCOUT'S PRAYER IN WINTER
Lord, we are camping in the snow today;
We may fear the cold,
But we trust that your Spirit
Will guide and warm us.
4. A SCOUT'S PRAYER
We have hiked along life's pathway,
Our packs upon our backs,
We have pitched our tents and rested
Here and there along the tracks.
We have used our compass wisely
To guide us on our way
And hope to reach the campsite
Of our Great Chief Scout some day.
We have tried to be trustworthy -
Kept our honor high and clean,
We have been as loyal as any
To our Country and our Queen.
We have done our best at all times -
Kept our Promise - been prepared,
And hope our good deeds please Him
When at last our souls are bared.
We have lightened others' burdens,
With our smiles along the way,
We have kept our hand in God's hand,
Walked beside Him day by day.
And when our span of life runs out,
We'll make this gentle plea -
May we sit around His Campfire
At the Final Jamboree.
From Scouting in New South Wales
5. A SCOUTER'S PRAYER
"Build me a Scout, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory...
Build me a Scout whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a Scout who himself is the
foundation stone of knowledge...
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail...
Build me a Scout whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high. A Scout who will master himself before he seeks to master others, one who will march into the future, yet never forget the past...
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength...
Then I, a Scouter who knew him, will dare to whisper, `I have not lived in vain.'"