Daily Bread August 18

Discern Sacredness
Jane M. Gardner, presiding evangelist

You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? -Luke 12:56

Hypocrites! In the Gospel of Luke, there is a noticeable change in the tone of Jesus’ teaching and ministry near the end of chapter 9. Luke writes, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Once Jesus makes the decision to face his adversaries in Jerusalem, he has little patience for times when his followers do not understand the urgency of his journey and mission.

Time is running out, and, to Jesus’ frustration, his own disciples are not able to “interpret the present time.” For those early disciples, perhaps they are so close to the situation they cannot discern the divine activity unfolding right in front of them.

I wonder if we can truly grasp the magnitude of the shift that occurs when we attempt to follow Jesus to Jerusalem. He calls us to accountability. When we cannot see beyond ourselves and our comforts, when we can’t seem to make responsible choices, when we avoid the difficult work of peacemaking-Jesus demands that his agenda take precedence.

We aren’t used to this tone. It makes us uncomfortable. We need to ask ourselves, “Am I open to hear what I do not want to face? Is there room in my congregation’s life for ‘unpopular’ discussions and decisions? Do we know how to go against the culture and represent the mission of Jesus that we have covenanted to live?”

Perhaps we need to begin simply and discern the sacredness that surrounds and permeates our daily living; for until we can affirm the sacredness of all creation, our sight is limited and we are also hypocrites.

Help us, Lord Jesus:
          to be authentic,
                    living our best understanding of your mission on earth.
          to be aware,
                    looking for sacredness within difficulties and pain.
          to “become a people of the Temple-
                    those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet
                    extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.” -Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a

Prayer Phrase

Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).

Spiritual Practice

Inner Stillness

In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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