The End of Evil

Scripture Focus: Zechariah 14.6-9
6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.
8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

Reflection: The End of Evil
By Erin Newton

In times of great tragedy, the weight of evil is unbearable. Hope can be elusive. Each new day feels darker. Sometimes, evil is inflicted upon us and other times it comes from our corrupted hearts.

Israel lost her way and became a community that abused power over foreigners and the poor. They indulged in sexual immorality and killed their children. They only cared about satiating their greed, lust, or power. This degradation of morality and breach of the covenant led them into exile.

Zechariah recalled how the people had sinned and God’s judgment as the consequence. They had already started rebuilding the city, the temple, and reinstating proper justice. Yet, it was still met with struggles from outside (Nehemiah 4) and from within the community (Ezra 9). In the depths of their grief, we can imagine their desire for a glimmer of hope. God tells them of the future restoration.

The final prophetic vision is a land of never-fading light that never grows cold. The preceding verses are harsh and jarring—possessions are stolen, women are violated. The message of this future hope feels out of place, maybe a little impossible.

Recurring tragedies can leave us with an endless sense of dread. We ask ourselves, Will this evil ever stop? Can we learn to love one another? Ourselves? Pain has a way of stealing hope. The weight of grief can drown out any optimistic thought of better days.

The last few weeks have been incredibly painful. Adults and children have been murdered at the hand of evil. Clergy sexual abuse had been covered up and victims shamed. Countless other tragedies in local communities and personal lives never reach the headlines. It is an act of faith that makes a sense of hope possible. We need to know things will be made right.

God gave us these glimpses into a brighter future because he knew our souls would grow weary. Like the Israelites, we are called to repent and return to the Lord. We can begin to reform our community, to enact justice, to seek peace, to create environments that cherish the lives of every human being. But in the end, it’ll never fix every wrong.

As we read through the prophets, let us remember that while it feels like our world is “always winter and never spring” God is coming to make an end of evil.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him. — Psalm 96.9

Today’s Readings

Zechariah 14 (Listen – 3:52)
Matthew 11 (Listen – 4:06)

Read more about Revelation of Love
Ultimately, fear is not what Revelation is about. It is about love.

Read more about The Urban Sprawl of the City of God
As we anticipate the ultimate fulfillment of this promise, may we participate in work God calls us to which fulfills it in part.

Making Him Known :: A Guided Prayer

John 17.26
I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

Reflection: Making Him Known :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Making Christ known is the essence of Epiphany. When Christ’s identity is made known to the nations, our identity is made known as strangers and aliens in the world.

Today we read and pray through Christ’s prayer from John 17. May all the words of his prayer for us be fulfilled in his name.

Prayer for Unity and Love

We thank you, Lord, for your Advent.
We thank you for coming to us.
We thank you for your gift of life and joy.

You granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life…Now this is eternal life: that they know you…and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. — John 17.2-3

To know you, Lord, is eternal life.
May we be one, as you prayed, so that the world may know you.

I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. — John 17.13

We need your joy in all circumstances.
For we are hated by the world because of your word.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. — John 17.13-14

May your prayer for us be fulfilled, Jesus.

I pray for those who will believe…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…I will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. — John 17.20-26

Through your Word we know you.
Through knowing you…
You put your glory in us.
You send your love through us.
You work your power in us.
And we can be one with you, one with the Father, and one with each other.

Father for the sake of your Name and the salvation of the nations…
Glorify your Son, Jesus Christ, through us no matter what we may suffer…
Show the world your love through us, no matter what it may cost us…
And help us make you known, no matter how much the world will hate us.

May your prayer for us, be fulfilled, Lord Jesus.
We pray in your Name…

On the second day of Christmas, Christians across the world celebrate the life of Saint John, referred to in scripture as, “the beloved disciple.”

Prayer: A Reading
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and had written them down, and we know that his testimony is true. There was much else that Jesus did; if it were written down in detail, I do not suppose the world itself would hold all the books that would be written. — John 21:24-25

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Zechariah 14 (Listen – 3:52)
John 17 (Listen – 3:48)

Additional Reading
Read More about Good and Pleasant Unity? A Prayer for Election Week
Even among God’s people, unity is described as “good” and “pleasant,” implying that it is not automatic or constant.

Read More about The Spirit of the Lord :: Epiphany
The Holy Spirit, paraklētos, who made Christ’s earthly body, now makes in our individual bodies Christ’s mind and spirit. But more powerfully, we are knit together as a community, The Church. into the physical body of Christ in the world.

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