Speaking to the Soul: The Time of Trial

by

Week of Advent 3, Year One

[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 41, 52 (morning) // 44 (evening)

Isaiah 8:16-9:1

2 Peter 1:1-11

Luke 22:39-53

Ever since reading the diary of Anne Frank in the eighth grade, I’ve wondered (and worried) about what I would have done to protect people during the most decisive tests in history. Would I have hidden Jewish people in my attic during WWII? Would I have sheltered runaway slaves and offered my basement to the Underground Railroad? I’ll never know for sure. And, according to today’s gospel, I should pray that I never find out.

When it comes to those moments that truly test the fiber of our faith over and against a powerful government, Jesus tells his disciples to pray that such moments never come to pass. As the disciples follow Jesus to the Mount of Olives after their last supper together, Jesus advises them to “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” When the disciples fall asleep during Jesus’s own intense prayers, he wakes them up abruptly, perhaps to spare them an even ruder awakening about what their faith is made of: “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

Of course, Jesus also gives us an example of drinking his cup of suffering even as he prays for it to be taken away, and of finding strength from heaven to do so. We can certainly pray that we rise to such occasions if they come. But we must also heed the advice of Jesus to pour our prayers and our blood-thick sweat into never having to face such trials ourselves.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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