Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 14

Exodus 37:1-38:31; Matthew 28:1-20; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 9:9-10

"The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Ps. 34:18).

Some of you may be broken-hearted today.  Some of you may be crushed in spirit.  Some of you, like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, may be forced to confront the reality of the death of a loved one (see Mt. 28:1).  Some of you, like them, may be swallowing the anguish of a lost dream.  Some of you may be experiencing serious physical or emotional pain.  Some of you may find this particular day full of bitter irony and loneliness.  Some of you may doubt that God is present.

The two women in our New Testament passage were on their way to prepare a body for burial: the body of a man who had suffered physically, who had been abandoned by his closest friends, who had lost the presence of God.  He was broken-hearted; he was crushed in spirit.  This is the God - the God who knows what it is to be broken-hearted and crushed - who is close to us in our own pain.  Not only do we love and serve a God who is present to us, who is with us (Emmanuel, yet again) in our suffering, but we love and serve a God who deeply understands our suffering.   He, too, has experienced it.

Jesus meets these two women (see vs. 9-10) in their confusion (see vs. 8).  He greets them; he allows them to touch him, to reassure themselves.  He accepts them, and then sends them on a task. Their suffering encounters the risen Jesus - the God who is close to the broken-hearted - and they find joy.

I am heavy today for those of you who are suffering.  I pray that you would experience the truth of this verse in our Psalms reading today: though you "may have many troubles," may "the Lord [deliver you] from them all" (Ps. 34:19).  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

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