Subject: Daily Prayers and Scriptures: Wednesday, April 1

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During this time in which the whole world is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are posting Daily Bible Readings from the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching, Spring 2020, plus a meditation to help guide your prayers, for your inspiration and encouragement. 

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Mark 11:15-19, NRSV
House of Prayer for All Nations

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”

18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Overcome Greed with Selflessness

By Rev. Phil Woodson, Associate Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville, VA

“Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.”

~Exodus 11:10~

Before the current crisis of a global pandemic, I used to wonder about this verse of scripture. I wondered how Pharaoh, laden with the responsibilities of leadership, and having experienced God’s power so fully, could have let his people die. He knew what was coming and he had no reason to doubt Moses or Aaron, but I guess he somehow believed that he was still going to come out on top…

Arrogance. Pride. Power. Greed.

It wasn’t until the leaders, the elite, the mighty and powerful felt the full effects of this tenth and final plague that they yielded. It wasn’t until they were injured, until they lost something, until they experienced the pain of powerlessness that they were stirred to act – and even then, Pharaoh was quick to change his mind.

Today, there are still leaders who display a gross inability to act for the common good because they are clinging to their idols of wealth, clawing for positions of power, and striving to maintain their presumed levels of safety and comfort.

But because we know God, their inaction is our opportunity. Their selfishness will only be matched and overcome by our selflessness, their greed should not hinder our generosity, and we all know that their armies and displays of power are no match for our God.

So just like the Israelites, we will prepare our communities. We will make sure that there is enough for everyone to eat, we will watch over our neighbors and maintain our homes, and we will find rest and comfort in the knowledge that God is still with us.

You can follow our daily readings, prayers, and meditations on our website at safe, healthy, and blessed during this time.
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