all we can do is ask

English: The stained-glass window number 27 (d...
English: The stained-glass window number 27 (detail) in the Sint Janskerk at Gouda/Netherlands: “The parable of the Pharisee and the publican” Deutsch: Das Glasfenster Nummer 27 (Detail) in der Sint Janskerk in Gouda/Niederlande: “Der Pharisäer und der Zöllner” Nederlands: Gebrandschilderd Glas 27 (detail) in de Sint-Janskerk in Gouda/Nederland: “De farizeeër en de tollenaar” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul tells us that faith, hope, and love are the three that remain. The church understands these as “theological virtues” – spiritual habitual traits that come only by the gifting of the Holy Spirit. We can only believe as the Spirit enables. We can only hope as the Spirit enables. We can only love as the Spirit enables.

Jesus gave as an example to follow the man who prayed, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

Taking Jesus and Paul together, we can pray:

Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

Lord I hope, help my despair.

Lord I love, help my indifference and hatred.

Since each is a gift, all we can do is ask and receive. Good thing he gives so freely.

Red Letter Year: 1/7

Mark 1.1-15

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It beganjust as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.

He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,

‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!

    Clear the road for him!’”

This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.

John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”


Seems to me that John and Jesus are saying the same thing. Clear the road. Repent of your sins. If it’s blocking the path for Jesus to get to you, if it’s making your arrow point in a direction other than Jesus, try letting it go, getting rid of it. See what happens.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.