Maranatha Meditation

Sermon for Sunday, May 29, 2022 || Easter 7C || Revelation 22:20

(If you usually read the sermon instead of watching the video, I’d encourage you to watch this one because I sing the response after each piece of the meditation.)

I’d like to do something a little different with today’s sermon. Today we’re going to have a meditation on the very last prayer in the Bible. This prayer is simple, only three words: “Come, Lord Jesus.” In the original Aramaic language of Jesus’ day, the prayer was even simpler, only one word: “Maranatha.” I love this prayer word because of how much air you can breathe when you say it. Ma-ra-na-tha. Certain practices of silent Christian meditation use this word, Maranatha, as their focal word, the word used to center the practice.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

For the next few minutes, I invite you to get comfortable in your seat. Put both feet on the ground if you can. Place your hands in a position of openness in your lap. Close your eyes if you wish or let your vision go soft. And pray with me for the coming of Christ in all the painful parts of life. We’ll start with a wide lens and then focus closer and closer to our own hearts. We’ll begin with a deep breath in. As you exhale, I invite you to whisper the prayer word if you wish. Maranatha.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, the world is hurting right now. Instead of tending this creation, we humans have dominated it. Instead of stewarding this creation, we humans have let our greed and our desire to consume rule our destiny. Through our action and inaction, temperatures are rising and forests shrinking, ocean levels are rising and ice caps shrinking, severe weather events are growing more common, and precious species of life are growing less common, to the point of extinction. But you, Lord, are the one in whom all things are made and all life finds its purpose (John 1:3). Help us reclaim our purpose as stewards and cultivators of your creation (Genesis 2:15).

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, nations are hurting right now. War, and its entourage of atrocities, is destroying countries, cities, homes, and those who live in them. With war comes famine, as crops go unplanted and people unfed. With war comes an exodus of refugees whose homes are no more. With war comes always the possibility of escalation. But you, Lord, are the Prince of Peace and the Son of Righteous Justice, in whose kingdom stands the tree of life with leaves for the healing of the nations. Help us welcome refugees, share our bounty, and create new partnerships that will finally allow us to fulfill the word of God spoken to the Prophet Isaiah:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
neither shall they learn war any more.” (2:4)

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, people are hurting right now. Old systems of domination continue to create injustice and inequity. While we did not create these systems, we are responsible for dismantling them so all people may flourish. As your brilliant servant, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” You, Lord, taught us how to be human: how to care for one another, to challenge systems of oppression, and to free one another through liberating and life-giving love. Help us live out this teaching as we lift up our crosses and follow you (Mark 8:34).

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, families are hurting right now. Gun violence again and again tears through our communities. Children are massacred. Grocery shopping grandparents are killed. And two-thirds of gun deaths in the US are suicides. Two years of pandemic have left a million dead in this country and millions more around the world. Drug overdoses take the lives of so many more. Grief and loss abound. Isolation has led to rises in violence and abuse. Young children have had trouble making friends and have fallen behind in their education. Elders feel abandoned. Rising prices of staple needs threaten the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. But you, Lord, are the one who gathers us beneath the shadow of your wing like a mother hen gathers her chicks (Matthew 23:37). You are the one who seeks the lost sheep and reunites it with the flock (Luke 15:4). You are the one who creates a family while hanging on the cross (John 19:25-27). Help us to love our families – the ones we were born into, as well as the ones we’ve found and woven together.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, our hearts are hurting right now. Fear, anxiety, and hopelessness about all that we’ve prayed for are weighing us down. We often choose apathy or ignorance because the challenges we face seem too big and too intractable for us to believe we can make a difference. So we distract ourselves with the next shiny thing. We turn a blind eye to cruelty when we are not personally affected. We sink into despair. But you, Lord, are the one God sent because God loves this world so much. You are the one God sent not to condemn the world but so the world could be saved through you (John 3:16-17). Help us to walk in the vision of your reign, where the poor hear good news, captives are released, the oppressed find freedom, and the scales that blind us to your presence fall from our eyes (Luke 4:18-19). Help us to be your presence in the lives of all who are hurting right now.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash.

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