Subject: Daily Prayers and Scriptures: Tuesday, April 14

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This first week of Easter, as we continue to navigate our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are posting Scripture readings from two sources for your spiritual reflection and encouragement: 1) the selected Gospel texts originate from the Book of Common Worship: Daily Prayer (Louisville, KY:Westminster/John Knox, 1993); 2) the Home Daily Bible Readings for Monday through Saturday are selected in support of the Sunday lesson in the Uniform Lessons Series, ©Spring 2020.

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Easter Tuesday
The longer ending to Mark’s gospel
Mark 16:9-20, NRSV

9 Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Haman Sets A Decree
Esther 3:7-11, NRSV

7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur—which means “the lot”—before Haman for the day and for the month, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day[a] of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued for their destruction, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, so that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, and the people as well, to do with them as it seems good to you.”

Known by Name

By Jennifer E. Copeland, Ph.D., Executive Director, North Carolina Council of Churches

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I greet you on behalf of the North Carolina Council of Churches and the 18 denominations that make up our membership. We are stronger together and strong for you.

Hear these words from the prophet Isaiah, who also knew something about dealing with the unknown.

Isaiah 43:1-3

1 But now thus says the Lord,
   he who created you, O Jacob,
   he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
   when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

These words from Isaiah remind us that are a few things that never change in this ever-changing and challenging world. God calls each of us by name. As we shelter in place, perhaps wondering if anyone knows we are here, we know we are known by God.

Even while this truth comforts us, we also know God expects us to know each other by name as well. We have incredible communication capacity in most places in this country. Let’s use everything we have: FaceTime, texting, Instagram. If smart technology is not your style, phones still work really well for real conversations. Sometimes my own children have to remind me of this. When we’re in a texting marathon, one of them will call and say, “I thought it would just be easier to talk.” So, let’s all talk more, especially those who may be experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. Let’s name those people even as God names each of us.

This is also a time for us to get creative about caring for those around us. The young and healthy among us should be intentional about naming the old and infirm. Those who cannot risk public exposure still need basic supplies and food. All across the land, people are forming support groups to run errands, pick up supplies, and otherwise care for those who cannot and should not leave their homes. Let’s name those people even as God names each of us.

And finally, let’s feed our own souls. Some of us have the unexpected gift of time. We can use this time to focus on things long neglected. We might do something as practical as organizing the file cabinet or as heartwarming as organizing old photos. You know those pictures, the ones you threw in a shoe box back in the days when we developed film and printed pictures. Whatever it is, find that thing that helps your soul soar. Listen as God calls your name.

Let us pray: God of comfort and strength, you have called us by name and we are yours. Reassure us of your presence even as many of us find ourselves all alone. For those on the front lines of service, we pray for your strength. For those caught between responsibility and safety, we pray for your guidance. For those who are ill, we pray for your healing. For each according to the yearning of our hearts, call our names, for we are yours. Amen.

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