New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Today’s Reflection

POLITICS MAKES STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, the saying goes. So does religion – or to be more precise in terms of Mark’s story [in Mark 3:1-6], so does opposition to Jesus’ interpretation of sabbath. The text singles out two otherwise estranged groups united by such opposition: Pharisees and Herodians.

Pharisees served as leaders for those who viewed the heart of Judaism to be faithful adherence to the Jewish law or Torah. During and since the time of exile, sabbath keeping emerged as central to both Torah observance and Jewish identity. The Pharisees were not some fringe group in Judaism, religious extremists akin to the political fanatics who came to be known as Zealots. The Gospels sometimes overstate the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees. . . .When the early church and Judaism began to take increasingly separate paths, the church (and the writers of the New Testament materials) sought to trace their differences with Pharisaic Judaism to Jesus’ relationships with the Pharisees.

The truth is, Jesus and the Pharisees were not that far apart. The Pharisee Nicodemus declared to Jesus that “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.” Other Pharisees warned Jesus of the danger posed to him by Herod Antipas (Luke 13:31). …Jesus’ teachings about keeping the law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:17-20) reflect the essence of the Pharisees’ teachings. …

The pairing of Pharisees and Herodians seems like a match made anywhere but in heaven. At best, Herodians paid lip service to Torah observance. The law certainly did not restrain their titular head, Herod Antipas, from marrying a woman who was both his niece and sister-in-law. But like the elite of any day, their overriding goal was to maintain the status quo, seeing as how they balanced on top of that heap. Any unrest, civil or religious, would not be appreciated. The perceived undermining of a bedrock societal foundation like sabbath keeping would have been most unwelcome. As a result, an unspecified number of Pharisees and Herodians conspire to destroy Jesus. …

This encounter that unleashes rejection by some religious and civil leaders of Jesus’ day merits catution in our own. Keep in mind what evoked their rejection: an innovation in established tradition by Jesus.We miss the point of this encounter if we say that since we no longer have the same scruples about observing sabbath, that this story is just about an ancient Jewish issue. Friends, it is a Christian problem too. Innovation in tradition can be a problem for any religious tradition, especially those where the lines between religious and civil authorities blur. Rejection came then because Jesus rocked the boat. Rejection still is apt to come now when we open our lives and churches to something more than a “gentle Jesus meek and mild.”

– John Indermark
Gospeled Lives

From pages 58-60 of Gospeled Lives: Encounters with Jesus, A Lenten Study by John Indermark. Copyright © 2008 by John Indermark. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where is Jesus, and hopefully the church, rocking the boat? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.

Mark 14:9, NRSV

This Week: Pray for persons who are looking for a church family. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Joseph (March 19).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


  • Jill Posted March 23, 2018 3:46 am

    I want to thank all of you who offer up words of encouragement to me, as well as prayers to Our Father. We received difficult news yesterday…mom’s cancer is late stage III. Dad was blind-sided by this news, considering that the surgeon had been positive a week ago. Mom was already broken, or so it seemed. But dad – he was just crushed by the news yesterday. So very hard to see this. A treatment option was given, but we are unsure at this point if mom will do it. It increases her chances a bit, but the odds are poor. The treatment would be 6 months and would likely ravage her body. I don’t know if she can physically endure it and I doubt that can mentally endure it. We are going to take a week or so to gather info, ask more questions of the oncology staff. I think dad is hoping mom will be able to “enjoy” Easter, and then proceed with treatment following that, should that be the option we pursue. Thank you, UR family, you are such a source of support for me.

    • Lou Posted March 23, 2018 5:27 am

      Praying for you Jill – and your mother and father- God will lead you- lean into him- your strong faith will see you through.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted March 23, 2018 6:10 am

      Jill, keeping you, your mum and your dad in prayer. May God surround your family with His love and grant your family a double portion of His grace.


    • Julie Posted March 23, 2018 7:45 am

      God is holding all of you in His loving arms.
      My prayers for all of you.
      You are in my heart.

    • Connie Posted March 23, 2018 8:41 am

      Oh dear. Life is so hard when loved ones get sad news.May God give you supernatural, Palm Sunday strength with a little joy, too.
      Lord, be with Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky and see them through this with miraculous results. Amen.

    • Andrea Posted March 23, 2018 7:30 pm

      I join everyone here lifting Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky in prayer. Loving God, comfort this family and fill each one of them with Your strength. Jill, you are a beacon of light in your family.

    • Marcy Posted March 24, 2018 12:24 am

      Dear Jill, I pray along with everyone here with all my heart and soul. Abba, Father, please be with Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky as they ponder the next steps. Holy Spirit, may they all feel the presence of the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ and convey Your comfort and all-encompassing Love. Amen

  • Julie Posted March 23, 2018 7:55 am

    Again, Jill, I feel the need to reiterate, my heart and prayers go out to and for you.
    I ask for prayers for my mother who continues to be in pain and has found no relief by following her doctor’s recommendations.
    Prayers for Mary and her new job and parents.
    Lou, prayers for you and your children. I pray for you as you go through your home cleaning to prepare it for sale.
    Prayers for Marcy and her health and her insurance issues.
    Blessings and prayers for and thanks to all of my UR friends.
    What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted March 23, 2018 8:13 am

      Thank you Julie for your prayers

      Prayers for your mum.

      May God’s healing touch be upon Julie’s mum


    • Marcy Posted March 24, 2018 12:27 am

      Praying, Julie, for your Mother and for you. Thank you for your prayers and the daily quotes.

  • Connie Posted March 23, 2018 8:46 am

    Politics and religion….now and in Jesus’ time. He was the answer then and He is the answer now!

  • robert moeller Posted March 23, 2018 10:04 am

    Jill, that’s very tough news, am sure it hit your Dad very hard. You and Becky have the double dose caring for both your Mom and Dad. I echo the statements made by others, God will help your parents, Becky, and you through this. I ask for God’s wisdom in making decisions. Find refuge in the Lord and Hid comfort will be with you.

    Thankful for the outpouring of support from the the UR family. SO THANKFUL for your prayers, thoughts, sharing in every situation of which you become aware. What a blessing!

    I am expectant that Anneliese is taking a good rest today after coming home yesterday. Thankful the ablation and meds are helping. She has other issues that make all of this more difficult and yet she keeps going. Thank You, Lord.
    She’s in the prayer chain at church as well as here.

    Thank you for your kind words, comments, and support as I have made it through recent struggles. I will be able to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, pay bills, and keep going as well. Progress is being made. Am thankful for my hobby which provides human joy, but it is the Lord who sustains me.

    Prayers for Julie, Marcy and all with health problems. I am very aware that the Lord has both of you secure based on the faith you share so lavishly and freely. Thank you Mary for support and prayers. I am delighted that your new job is working out so well and pray for you and your family’s well being.

    Thanks to Andrea, Lou, Connie and the UR family for the wonderfully supportive sharing that you do. Be blessed.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted March 23, 2018 6:40 pm

      Thanks Robert for your prayers and edifying comments that uplift everyone here.

      Glad that God has seen you through the recent struggles. May Anneliese have a good rest and a speedy recovery. May Erich be blessed with a job suitable for him.

      Blessings and have a wonderful weekend!

    • Marcy Posted March 24, 2018 12:33 am

      Thank you, Robert, for your words of comfort, support and encouragement. I am praising the Lord that all is well with you and will keep you, Erich and Annaliese in my prayers daily. It is after midnight, but I’m so glad I checked in. God’s heavenly blessings to you!

  • Andrea Posted March 23, 2018 7:42 pm

    Thankful that Robert is a pillar of strength for Erich. May Anneliese continue to improve. May Robert’s health be robust and his bank account be fully straightened out.

    Prayers too for pain relief for Julie and her mom, and for Marcy.

    Prayers of gratitude for my husband, daughter, SIL and grandson.

    Prayer of gratitude for UR friends in this blessed prayer community. Praying for God’s blessings to all this weekend. God walks with us through every single moment. May you all feel safe and loved in God’s strong, sheltering arms.

    • Marcy Posted March 24, 2018 12:40 am

      Andrea, thank you very much for your prayers. You are so reassuring and caring in your comments and that is a gift in itself. I keep you, Lowell, your daughter, SIL and grandson in my prayers. Special prayers once again that all goes well with your meeting. Lord, I ask that you be with and among Andrea and her siblings when they meet together tomorrow. Amen.

  • Marcy Posted March 24, 2018 12:52 am

    UR family, I am extremely thankful for each and every one of you. I’m so blessed to have you all in my life and I thank our Lord every day that He brought me to the UR Reflections. You and your families are in my prayers each morning. Love you all!

    To any who are reading, need prayer or acceptance, kindness, understanding, please feel free to join us. The believers here are wonderful, loving, Spirit-filled children of God and will welcome you here with open arms. I have firsthand knowledge of this! Blessings!

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