He had seen the destructive power of crowds. He knew it was dangerous for anyone to act in opposition to a crowd filled with anger and hate.
When all seemed lost, he acted in love. He acted in faith. The story wasn’t over. The Victory was coming.
This is the story of a man named Joseph of Arimathea. The crowds were not in Madison or Milwaukee. They were in Jerusalem. Read Joseph’s story in Luke 23:50-24:12.
There is so much anger and hate and fear present in our communities today. Will we have the courage of Joseph? Will we see that Jesus is the Victory that motivates us? Will we act in faith and love toward those who disagree with us, with those who speak words of anger toward us?
This requires super-human courage. No wonder God’s people prayed 3000 years ago. No wonder the Holy Spirit preserved those prayers for us to read and make our own today. Click on the bolded sections to read each psalm:
- Psalm 84: "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Let us set our hearts on pilgrimage, to worship our Savior again this weekend, either in person (click here for times) or online (click here for links). The Traditional service will be available today by 5 pm.
- Psalm 85: "I will listen to what God the LORD will say: He promises peace to his people, his saints, but let them not return to folly." Help me show love and faithfulness to those with whom I disagree.
- Psalm 86: "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear our name. " As you, LORD, are kind and forgiving, make me like you!
- Psalm 87: "All my fountains are in you.” All of the LORD’s blessings flow from a relationship with Him. This psalm reminds us that the Holy Spirit worked changes in the hearts of many of ancient Israel’s enemies. Pray that the spiritual blessings you and I experience in Christ might also spring up in the hearts of others.
- Psalm 88: “Darkness is my closest friend.” These are dark times:
- dark because of civil unrest,
- dark because we are reminded of past failures as individuals and as a nation to show justice and love toward all,
- dark because we are shut off from loved ones because of the pandemic.
In these dark times, we join with so many of our fellow believers of the past and spread out our hands in prayer to “the God who saves me.”
It was a dark day when Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down from the cross. But he acted in courage and love. He saw the Victory in Christ that others could not. God grant us the vision and the courage to act in love toward all. Amen.
I found great comfort in closing my devotion today by listening to a song written by my friend and co-worker Mike Westendorf. I pray you have time today to relax and remember Everything for Good (click here).
LINKS TO OTHER EVENTS
- Taste and See: The opening service for this online mission event is this morning at 11 am. Learn more here.
- Awake and Alive: Sunday evening join Kent Reeder as he explores the topic: Permission | Where constraints become gifts and gifts become opportunities. Register for this free event here.
- Global Leadership Summit – Register Now Join us in the Trinity Gym on Thursday, August 6 and Friday, August 7 for the Global Leadership Summit Simulcast. The gym will allow us to maintain social distance throughout the day. You will also be able to join the simulcast as it is livestreamed. The sessions will be available for viewing a week after the event as well. Learn more here.