Home > Reading > Daily Reading – March 31, 2024

The Resurrection of Our Lord

Have you ever been unable to find something that was right in front of you? This happens with more important things than keys, billfolds, and cell phones. Sometimes it’s hard to see Jesus. Cleopas and his companion surely heard the report that Christ had risen from death, as He said He would. Why was it so hard for them to see the Lord when He met them on the road? Unmet expectations often blind us to Christ’s presence in our lives. And unless we challenge our assumptions about Him, we remain blind.
We expect Christ to work through what Martin Luther called, “right-handed power,” which is the power of force and coercion. Parents committed to right-handed power raise their voice when their child refuses to listen. When that doesn’t work, they take something away, like a toy or phone. When that doesn’t work, some parents resort to spanking. But if the child still doesn’t comply, you reach a point where right-handed power spins out of control and fails to accomplish what you intended.
So, wise parents eventually embrace left-handed power, which is the power of love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. Left-handed power means that you absorb the pain of your child’s rebellion, because you realize that this is the only possible way to get your relationship back on track. Right-handed power doesn’t work: which is why God’s left-handed curve-ball to save the world is His Son on a cross.
“They were kept from recognizing Him,” Luke notes; maybe because the risen Christ can only be “seen” by faith in the promises about Him in all the Scriptures. Jesus is the Passover Lamb of Exodus. He’s the High Priest of Leviticus. He’s the Wisdom of Proverbs, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, and the preincarnate “Word of the Lord” who appears to multiple people throughout the Old Testament.
It’s easy for Christians today to be blinded to Christ’s presence by declining worship attendance, cultural opposition, and personal setbacks. When we can’t “see” Jesus, it’s almost always because we’ve trusted our feelings, circumstances, or performance to determine whether He’s with us. But these are unreliable measures. When you can’t see Jesus, look instead to the places where He’s promised to be: in His Word and in the Sacraments. For all who are slow of heart to believe, He gives bread which is His body and wine which is His blood. His real presence sustains us in our joys and sorrows, in our witnessing and serving, until that day, coming soon, when He will return in glory.

Prayer: O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to His disciples in the breaking of bread, open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold Him in all His redeeming work. To Him who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Jeff Morlock

“John Donne, Priest, 1631”

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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