Thursday in the First Week of Lent, Mar 9, 2017
Steven Cunningham


Scripture for the Day

Prayer as a stance of hope and gratitude toward the world 

The readings for today comprise a microcosm of prayer - prayer defined as a particular stance towards the world: a stance of hope and gratitude. 

The book of Esther, like the Song of Solomon, celebrates the diversity of the feminine. In these Apocryphal chapters, Esther, Queen of Persia, in stark contrast to the beauty and courage seen in the canonical chapters, has here in 14:2 humbled herself in hopeful petition for deliverance (14:14). The fact the she "humbled her body" as an outward sign of her inner state is consistent with this theme of hope and gratitude insofar as hope and gratitude are humble qualities, and thrive not on pride, but on humility. 

Psalm 138 presents David's thanksgiving and praise. His grateful appreciation is a steady, consistent, and unifying theme throughout the psalm. 

Finally, in the Matthew reading, the vein of hope and gratitude runs clear and strong through each hopeful petition ("ask...") and each grateful receipt (... and it shall be given to you), culminating in what may well be the most important prescriptive verse of the entire Bible (not to mention the most important and most uniform precept across nearly all major world religions): the golden rule. What is the golden rule, after all, if not essentially an embodiment of a prayerful stance of hope and gratitude toward the world, of hope and gratitude for reciprocity in our relationships with one another? 

Not only does this state of prayer, this stance of hope and gratitude, poise us to follow the golden rule naturally, but the reverse is also true: following the golden rule engenders a prayerful stance of hope and gratitude toward the world.


Last Published: March 8, 2017 8:43 PM