Sunday, March 31, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week-2013
Easter Sunday:  Resurrection
Sing:    Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! 
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! 
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” words by Charles Wesley.  Hymn No. 302 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
Read:   Luke 24:1-12
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
It was the most significant event in the history of the world, but there were no witnesses.  Luke gives us no details about the resurrection itself.  Luke doesn’t tell us when it happened.  Matthew speaks of an earthquake, of angels descending, guards shaking and becoming “like dead men” (Matthew 28:2-4).  Luke gives us none of those details.  Some events are just too sacred, just too intimate, and just too holy to be seen by others.
What we see in Luke are the reactions—reactions to the stone having been moved away from the doorway, the empty tomb, the two men in dazzling clothes.  We hear that the women were perplexed (v. 4) and terrified (v. 5).  Not until they were prompted by the men in the tomb could they remember Jesus’ own words about his death and resurrection.  Even with this explanation, they still could not process what had taken place.  They must have been extremely animated when they told their story to the other disciples.  The apostles viewed their story as “an idle tale” (24:11).
Peter has a different reaction—something must have stirred within him.  Was it just his impetuous personality that made him run to the tomb?  Was it guilt from falling asleep in the Garden?  Did the words he spoke to another woman echo in his brain “I do not know him” (Luke 22:57)?  We do not know what he was thinking our how he felt when he ran to the tomb.  We do know, however, that after he looked inside the tomb and saw the linen clothes by themselves, he went home “amazed” (Luke 24:12).  Even for Peter, this event was just too big for words.
Easter still confounds us today.  Two thousand years of sermons later, we still remember—just as the men in white instructed the women to do, and we still are amazed.  The women responded by leaving the tomb to tell the other followers what had happened.  They told their story.  How will we respond?
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      Think of a time when what you expected to see was dramatically different from what you saw before your eyes.  What emotions did you experience?  What did you do in response?
2.      Have you told a story about your experience, only to find out that no one believed you?  How did you respond?
3.      So often, people struggle to understand resurrection.  They try to make resurrection conform to their own scientific view of the world.  Others seek instead to experience resurrection, to permit the promise of new life create a new view of what it means to be alive.  How do you respond to resurrection?
4.      The men in white asked the women, “why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5).  In what ways do you look for the living among the dead?  Where, then, can you look for the Resurrected Christ?  How do you respond to the Resurrected Christ? 
Sing:    Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been: 
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green. 
“Now the Green Blade Riseth,” words by J. M. C. Crum.  Hymn No. 311 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Pray:    “My Lord and my God!”  (John 20:28).

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Saturday:  Burial and Sabbath
Sing:    Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb? 
Oh! sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. 
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
“Were You There,”—verse 5, Afro-American Spiritual.  Hymn No. 288 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
ReadLuke 23:50-56
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
Someone had to do it.  The mandates of the Torah were clear:  “the corpse of one who is executed and hung on a tree must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you for possession” (Deuteronomy 21:22).  Was Joseph was acting out of reverence for the crucified Jesus?  Was he acting to remove an unpleasant sight during the Passover Festival?  Was he simply doing his job to satisfy the mandates of the law?  To be sure, the whole process bothered him.  He had not agreed with the Council’s plan to get rid of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel states even more explicitly that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 27:57), and John’s Gospel adds the detail that Joseph was a disciple “in secret” (John 19:38).  But what was done was done.  Joseph had to act quickly before sundown and the observance of Sabbath.  He placed the lifeless body in a tomb, carved from the soft rock.
The women from Galilee followed Joseph and watched where he placed the body.  They too had plans—they gathered spices to use, after the Sabbath was over, in anointing the body.  They would do what they could to give Jesus a proper burial.
But as the sun left the sky, they rested.  It was the Sabbath.  Part of what defined them as the children of God was their observance of Sabbath.  The Lord established this precedent on the seventh day of creation; on that day, God rested from the work of creation and blessed the seventh day (Genesis 2:3).  The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy was not simply a law; it was “a perpetual covenant” (Exodus 31:16).  In the topsy-turvy world they lived in, they still remembered who they were.  So they rested.  And they waited.
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      Think of times of great tragedy in your life.  How do you respond to traumatic events?  Do you disrupt your normal patterns of living, or do you find comfort in the familiar?
2.      How do you spend the Sabbaths in your life?  What does the way you spend your Sabbath say about who you are as a person?
3.      For some people, times of grief are times of waiting—waiting for the rituals of funerals, waiting for grief to fade away.  For others, times of grief are times of action—receiving friends, cleaning out closets, probating estates.  For yet other people, times of grief are times of forgetting—trying to block the pain out of our memories.  How do you respond to grief?
Pray:    “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Friday:  Crucifixion; Place and Time
Sing:    Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
            Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
            Oh!—sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
            Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
“Were You There,” verse 2.  Afro-American Spiritual.  Hymn No. 288 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
Read:   Luke 23:26-49
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
He was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We don’t know much about Simon; Luke tells us only that Simon of Cyrene was coming from the country (Cyrene was a Roman colony in Northern Africa).  It is possible that Simon was visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.  For whatever reason, his path intersected the march from Pilate’s Court to the place of execution, and Simon was pressed into service.  There is no indication that Simon had a choice in the matter.  He was chosen, and he complied, thus becoming the first one to embody in a literal sense the words that Jesus had spoken earlier, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).  We hear nothing more of Simon.  Did he continue to take up his cross daily?
The two thieves were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well.  They were criminals and they got caught.  There seems to be no question of due process, no dispute over their guilt or innocence.  In fact, one of the thieves confesses that they had been “condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds” (Luke 23:41).  Jesus replied to this second thief that he would end up in the right place—“today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The centurion seems to be out of place, for he seems to be to be far too spiritual for his job.  He was a Roman soldier; he simply was following orders.  Undoubtedly, he had carried out executions before; undoubtedly, he would carry them out again in the future.  How ironic it is that this hardened soldier would be the one, upon seeing Jesus breathe his last, to “praise God” and proclaim that “certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47).
All Jesus’ acquaintances—his disciples and friends, and all the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee—they seemed to be in the wrong place, as well.  Those whom Jesus had urged the night before to “pray that [they] may not come into the time of trial” (Luke 22:46) stood watch safely, from a distance (Luke 23:49).
All of these witnesses to God’s greatest act of love were at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  Where were you?  Where are you now?
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      When have you been caught in the wrong place and at the wrong time?  What led you to be there?  How did you respond?  Did the event lead to punishment or paradise?
2.      Simon did not voluntarily pick up the cross; he could have resisted, but it might have cost him his life.  There may be some irony in that by carrying the instrument of death, Simon saved his own life—a twist on the word of Jesus, who said, “those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24).  Can you remember a time when have you taken up a cross and followed Jesus?  Did that event help you to save or to lose your life?  In what way?
3.      Jesus’ friends watched from a distance.  Can you recall times when God seemed distant?  Can you recall times when God seemed close at hand? 
4.      Mark’s Gospel recalls the words spoken by the centurion slightly differently:  “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39).  Have you had experiences in your life that brought you to the same conclusion?  What difference has this made in your life?
Sing:    What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul! 
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
“What Wondrous Love Is This”, verse 1—USA Folk Hymn.  Hymn No. 292 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
Pray:    “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).  Amen. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Thursday:  Trial before Pilate; Avoiding Responsibility
Sing:    See him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall!  O the pangs his soul sustained! 
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.
“Go to Dark Gethsemane,” verse 2—Words by James Montgomery.  Hymn No. 290 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
ReadLuke 23:1-25
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
One word that I have never heard used to describe Pontius Pilate is “principled;” but Pilate tried here to do the right thing.  Time and time again, he tried to let Jesus go.  “I find no basis for an accusation against this man” (23:4).  He tried, unsuccessfully, to escape from the dilemma by putting the matter in Herod’s hands, but Herod was as adept at avoidance as Pilate.  Once again, Pilate told the accusers ‘I have examined him [Jesus] in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges” (23:14).  Then Pilate tried to appease the accusers by giving them the choice between releasing a known murderer, Barabbas, or Jesus, as part of their Passover custom (23:18), but the accusers called his bluff and called for Barabbas.  “I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death,” Pilate pronounced (23:22).  Still, the crowd of accusers demanded that Jesus be condemned.  Pilate’s ultimate verdict was not that Jesus was guilty; rather, his verdict was that the accuser’s “demand should be granted” (23:24).
This theme is as old as the Garden of Eden.  It’s not my fault—“the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12).  “The serpent tricked me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:13).  In Matthew’s account of the trial, Pilate asserts his innocence by symbolically washing his hands and proclaiming “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves” (Matthew 27:24).  Pilate could wash Jesus’ blood from his hands; but he could not wash his own guilt from his soul. 
I find another interesting detail in this story.  Pilate and Herod each tried to pass responsibility for Jesus’ trial to the other.  Neither of them would accept responsibility for Jesus guilt or innocence; but in their efforts to avoid responsibility, they became “friends with each other” (Luke 23:12).  Birds of a feather sometimes really do flock together.
There is irony in the crime for which Jesus was accused.  “We found this man perverting our nation” (Luke 23:2)—a charge that does not appear to warrant a penalty of death.  “I have found no in him no ground for the sentence of death,” Pilate asserted (Luke 23:22); but the accusers would not accept this result.  Ultimately, Pilate gave into their demands.  What was the ultimate finding of guilt?  The inscription above the cross read simply, “This is the King of the Jews” (Matthew 23:38).
Reflect on Your Story:
1.       When in your life have you tried to avoid responsibility for difficult or unpopular decisions?  What did you do to try to avoid the situation?  Were you conscious of your actions at the time?  Did someone else bring it to your attention?
2.       How do you deal with guilt?  Pilate tried to wash away his guilt; how do you deal with feelings of guilt?
Pray:    “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”   Amen.  (Psalm 51:2-3, 10).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week-2013
Wednesday:  Trial and Denial:  Following from a Distance
Sing:    Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?  By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted!
Who was the guilty?  Who brought this upon thee?  Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
’Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.
“Ah, Holy Jesus”—word by Johann Heermann, trans. By Robert S. Bridges.  Hymn No. 289 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
Read:   Luke 22:54-71
Reflect on the Story:
Following Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed “at a distance” (Luke 22:54).  The one who, just hours earlier, had bragged that he would go to prison and to death with Jesus (see v. 33) now lagged behind.
In reading this story, we often focus on Peter’s response to the servant-girl’s charge that “This man also was with him” (v. 56).  To be sure, Peter’s response to the servant-girl’s question (“Woman, I do not know him”—v. 57) was dramatic—in part because Jesus had told Peter that this was going to happen.  But in a very real sense, Peter’s denial took place earlier.  Peter denied his Lord when Peter decided to keep his distance (v. 54) when Jesus needed him most.
I wonder what thoughts went through Peter’s mind as he followed his Lord at a distance.  Was he planning a strategy to rescue Jesus from the clutches of the temple police?  Was he waiting to strike for an “opportune time” that never came?  Did he rationalize his choice by concluding that there was nothing he could do?  Or did Peter simply panic in fear?
Whatever Peter’s motive and thought process may have been, his denial already had taken place.  Three times he told the people standing around the fire in the courtyard that he didn’t know Jesus—but those denials were confirming the inner denial that already had taken place.  “I do not know what you are talking about” (v. 60).  When the sound of the cock crowing split the quiet of the night like blaring siren, an alarm brought Peter to awareness of what he had already done—at a distance.  Peter knew, and Peter “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      Reflect upon a time that you kept your distance from someone.  Did you do so consciously or unconsciously?  In doing so, did you cut yourself off completely from the other person?  Why?  Or did you stay close enough to see what was taking place in the other person’s life?  If so, why was this important to you?  In either case, how did you feel about your actions at that time?  How do you feel about your actions now?
2.      Is there a time and a place for keeping distance?  How do you tell the difference?
3.      We can be so creative in devising ways to keep our distance.  Are there ways that you have kept distant from God?  Have you consciously placed distance or other barriers between you and God or has someone else or something else intervened?  What risk would you take in removing those barriers?
Pray:    Lord Jesus:  Where have I denied you?  Lord, have mercy.  Amen

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Remembering the Story: 
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Tuesday:  Garden of Gethsemane & Arrest:  Sleeping on the Job
Sing:    Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power;
your Redeemer’s conflict see, watch with him one bitter hour. 
Turn not from his griefs away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.
“Go to Dark Gethsemane” by James Montgomery.  Hymn No. 290 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
Read:   Luke 22:39-53
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
“Why are you sleeping?”  Did the Lord really expect an answer?  Or was he simply stating the obvious?
It was the Lord’s hour of greatest crisis, and He knew that it would become their crisis as well.  A crisis in which they would need all the strength and power of heaven to stand firm with their Lord, and an hour in which the Lord would need the strength and comfort that his Father in heaven and his friends and followers on earth could provide.  His Father remained faithful; but his friends fell asleep.
“Pray that you may not come to the time of trial.”  Earlier that evening, Simon Peter had bragged that he was “ready to go with [Jesus] to prison and to death!”  (Luke 22:33).  Jesus knew Peter—not only Peter’s strength and boldness, but Jesus also knew Peter’s weakness.  “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.”  (Luke 22:34).
It is one thing to brag before the time of testing, but you have to get ready.  When his time of testing came, Peter fell asleep.
What a contrast we find when we see how Lord prepared for his time of trial.  He knew that the strength he needed would come not through physical rest but by resting in the Lord.  This wasn’t the first night that Jesus spent in that garden on the mountain; he came here regularly.  It was “his custom” (Luke 22:39).  It was his custom to pour out his heart and soul to the one he called “Father.”  “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).  He was aware of his own conflicted emotions about the test that was to come.  He also was aware of his purpose, of the reason he came here.  His custom of prayer empowered him to say “not my will but yours be done” (v. 42).
Jesus set the example, but his disciples slept.  “Get up and pray,” Jesus told them.  “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial” (v. 46).  While Jesus was speaking, the trial came.  It still does.
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      When have you faced a difficult challenge in your life—not just a tough project to complete, a presentation to make, or test to take, but a moral challenge, a crossroads that called into question who you are and whom you serve?  Jesus had a custom of prayer to prepare for his challenges.  What is your custom?
2.      Jesus was aware—He was aware both of his own human vulnerability and of his divine purpose.  Because Jesus was aware of his human vulnerability, he could rely on his Father for strength to remain true to his divine purpose.  What weaknesses threaten you in your time of challenge?  What is your purpose?  What customs and practices help you to cultivate awareness of your weakness and your purpose?
3.      When the hour of testing arrived for Jesus, he was able to place God’s will in front of his own human will.  What test are you facing at this moment?  How are you responding?
Pray:    “Do not bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Monday:  The Last Supper:  Fussing at the Table
Did you ever notice that most of the events in Holy Week take place during the end of the week?  For this reason, the readings and the reflections in this Devotional Guide will not always correspond directly with the days in which the events took place.  The stories have been spread out to give you something to reflect upon every day.

Sing:    Come, sinners to the gospel feast, let every soul be Jesus’ guest. 
Ye need not one be left behind, for God hath bid all humankind.
“Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast”—words by Charles Wesley.  Hymn No. 616 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
ReadLuke 22:1-34
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
The disciples were fussing at the table.
Jesus had just finished serving the meal that had transformed a sacred Jewish tradition into the banquet that would shape Christian worship forever.  During that meal, his closest friends were arguing.  Jesus had just told them that one of them was a traitor, and they argued among themselves over who the traitor might be (see Luke 22:23).  They also argued over which of them would be regarded as the greatest (v. 24).  Their finger-pointing and their prideful arguing underscored the brokenness of humankind for which Christ died. 
“The one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table” (v. 21).  Those were chilling words.  I wonder how Judas felt as he sat there at the table.  When the disciples started arguing over who the betrayer might be, did Judas join in the argument, pointing an accusatory finger towards one of his friends, in order to divert attention away from himself?  He had been so careful to this point.  He had watched for his opportunity to sneak away for his meeting with the chief priests and officers of the temple police to discuss how he might betray Jesus (v. 4).  The Temple officials were “greatly pleased” (Luke 22:5) and they came to terms quickly concerning the price.  Everything had gone, thus far, just as he had planned. 
Did Judas really think he could avoid being caught?  Or did he count on Jesus remaining passive, turning the other cheek, and refusing to return evil for evil? 
We do know, however, that Judas continued his deception within the group, and then he went out into the night.  Jesus did not stop him.  The depth of Jesus’ mercy meant that he would not interfere with Judas’ plan, because, as He announced to the arguing disciples, “I am among you as one who serves” (v. 27).  If the other disciples knew what Jesus and Judas both knew about what would take place later that night, who would dare to argue about who would be greatest in the kingdom?
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      Have you ever found yourself having to conceal your plans from someone?  It may have been something as simple as keeping from your boss the steps that you were taking to look for a new job.  Perhaps it was more serious—undermining someone so you could advance your own position.  How did you feel?  Did you get caught in your deception?  How did your relationships change?  Was there any hope for reconciliation?
2.      Luke says in 22:3 that Satan had entered into Judas.  Did Judas have any choice in the matter?  Could Judas have chosen otherwise?  Are there ways that we betray Jesus, as well?  How do you fight those impulses?
3.      When you come to Christ’s table to receive Holy Communion, you bring your human weaknesses with you; yet Christ invites you to His table anyway.  How does this affect your understanding of God’s mercy and grace?
Sing:    Depth of mercy!  Can there be mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God his wrath forbear, me, the chief of sinners, spare?
“Depth of Mercy”—word by Charles Wesley.  Hymn No. 355 in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Pray:    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
                        The “Jesus Prayer,” from the Orthodox tradition.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Remembering the Story:
A Devotional Guide for Holy Week--2013
Sunday:  Palm Sunday Procession; The Lord Needs It
Sing:    All glory, laud and honor, to thee, Redeemer, King,
            to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring. 
Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal Son,
who in the Lord’s name comest, the King and Blessed One.
“All Glory, Laud, and Honor”—words by Theodulph of Orleans; trans. By John Mason Neale.  Hymn No. 280 in The United Methodist Hymnal.
ReadLuke 19:29-40
Reflect on the Biblical Story:
Just as Jesus had predicted, the owners of the colt found it a strange that two strangers would approach their animal and begin to untie it.  These two disciples must have stuck out in the crowd that was starting to grow as pilgrims made their annual journey to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast.  Clearly, they were not local citizens.  Their accent must have betrayed their Galilean origins.  They might have looked a bit hesitant as they approached the colt—like adolescents skipping school, halfway expecting to get caught.
The owners asked, “Why are you untying the colt?”  The Lord needs it,” the two disciples replied.  They spoke the words that the Lord given them—but I wonder how they said them.  Did the disciples hesitate, hem and haw?  Did the words roll off their tongues easily?  Did they speak quickly, hoping to get away before things escalated?  Did they speak confidently, knowing that the Lord had figured out all the details ahead of time?
The miracle is that the owners of the colt let the disciples proceed, with no further questions asked.  No background checks were conducted on the disciples or on the Lord that they followed.  No security deposit required.  No bargaining over price or whether the animal would be returned.  No further questions about why the Lord needed it.  “The Lord needs it.”  That was enough.
The colt was a lowly animal; yet that lowly animal gave Jesus the vantage point from which he would view the final leg of his journey to Jerusalem.  What an unusual sight it must have been:  crowds cheering, preparing the way for this unusual procession by throwing their cloaks on the ground.  Could this man be the One?  Blessed be the One who comes in the name of the Lord.  If they only knew that the One they were praising was One who had “no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:59).  Little did they realize that this One who needed to borrow a lowly colt for this last part of his journey also needs us, as lowly as we are, to tend to mundane details of life so that the business of the Kingdom may proceed. 
“Why are you untying the colt?”  “The Lord needs it.”  And that is reason enough.
Reflect on Your Story:
1.      Picture yourself as one of the two disciples sent by Jesus to untie the colt.  How would you feel about following Jesus’ orders, and offering the response that Jesus told you to give?  If you were the colt’s owner, how would you have responded to the disciple’s explanation?
2.      Remember a time in your life when God asked you to do something that you didn’t want to do.  How was God’s request made to you—directly or through messengers?  How did you determine that the request was from God?  How did you respond?
3.      Does the Lord need something today that you have to offer?  What questions do you ask?  What conditions do you place on your willingness to provide what the Lord needs? 
Pray:    Lord Jesus Christ:  Your call to discipleship may involve mundane tasks as well as major sacrifices, but both are required for your kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.  Grant us the grace to say yes to your needs, both big and small.  Amen.