What becomes obvious, though, the more times we go through this annual process, is that the problems we address are not always new, that our approaches to fix them aren’t always different, and that the results then may not vary significantly from what we have experienced in the past. We don’t lose as much weight as we want, we don’t exercise as often as we intended, we aren’t as nice to people as we know we should be, we aren’t as faithful in prayer as our consciences nag us to be. We take a step forward and a half step backward. We try, and we fail to fulfill all our goals. We find we are moving down the wrong paths, or along detours.
So what do the readings of today hold for me in this context? They all seem to be about intercessors, and about faith. Jonathan helps David by convincing Saul, in his jealous rage, he is about to make a terrible mistake. The psalmist praises God for standing with us against our enemies as they attempt to trample us. Jesus rescues the ill and infirm from their physical maladies. Many times the Old Testament speaks of God as jealous, and here it seems easy to draw parallels between Jonathan as the intercessor with Saul and Jesus as the intercessor with God. And even in Mark, Jesus is intercessing on behalf of the ill, calling on God to cure them of their afflictions.
And think of the faith of the people helped in these three readings! David has every right to be suspicious of Jonathan, since he is Saul’s son. Yet he still accompanies him to confront Saul, knowing well he could be put to death. The psalmist can see the enemies, yet believes that God will and does take his part. His refrain “In God I trust; I shall not fear” is a powerful statement of faith. And the ill people that Jesus cures – think of their reliance on this mystical figure that moves silently through their midst, curing them with a touch, a nod, a prayer. No one had ever done this before – their faith must have been palpable.
So the lessons for today might be - someone is there to take our part, someone is there to help us on this journey, someone is there to hold us up and provide strength and solace as we break out of our comfort zone of indolence and inactivity and strive for the greater. Our faith is what saves us, our reliance on the God before whom the intercessor takes our part helps us move in right directions, helps us to take not just steps but great strides toward our goals.
And so my prayer today is to ask for the grace to know my true directions, to have a simpler and deeper faith, and to rely more fully on the intercessing power of Jesus.
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