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Speaking to the Soul: Beautiful Promises

Speaking to the Soul: Beautiful Promises

Feast of Mary Magdalene

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 116 (morning) // 30, 149 (evening)
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Mark 15:47-16:7

Our first reading today is full to the brim with beautiful promises. The prophet Zephaniah directs these promises to God’s people, addressed as “daughter Zion” and “daughter Jerusalem,” since the promises belong to God’s people as a whole. However, we may be fortunate enough to see some of these promises fulfilled on a smaller scale in our own lives. Mary Magdalene, the saint we celebrate today, surely felt God’s presence and action in her own life in the same ways that God promises to be present and active for all people.

Perhaps one of these beautiful promises will speak with special clarity to our own lives or to the particular outcries of our time and place. The Lord says, “I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.”

These beautiful promises speak directly to us and about the oppressions we face (“you” / “your oppressors”), as well as about those who don’t share our privileges (“the outcast” / “their shame”). Thus, these promises belong to our own circumstances, but they also draw us out of our own lives and concerns. These beautiful promises can be fulfilled in our own lives and also direct us to the more distant horizon of their fulfillment for future generations.

On what scale do we hope to see God remove disasters, “deal with” oppressors, gather the outcast, and change shame into praise? Cherishing these beautiful promises can have an impact on the course of our days and on the course of human history as we hold them in trusting hearts.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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