Last evening we closed off a very difficult week and weekend by lighting a candle and praying a prayer in memory of my nephew, Michael. My heart was comforted by the sound of our wind chimes as we prayed. When the prayer was done, the chimes fell silent and did not make a sound the rest of the evening. Reflecting on it the words, surely the presence of the Lord is in this place, filled my soul with peace.
Words have been drifting through my thoughts for days trying to capture the essence of what all of us who mourn are feeling. Sitting in the darkness this morning, unworthiness, came to mind. It seemed to capture the mood. Unworthiness rests in the heart of each question why. It comes to the surface when thinking of the things we could have or should have done. Even when we know we could not have done more, the thought of unworthiness still lingers.
Grief opens the wounds which dwell deep within our souls. These wounds are always present, but we can subdue their impact with activity, laughter, and work. But when grief falls upon us in a way too powerful to bury, these wounds become public. They fill our conversation, our tears, and prayers. Think about it, even if you are not grieving a loss, how much of your life is driven by sense of unworthiness.
It’s this reality which makes the reading today so powerful to me. A Roman centurion, who is a pagan and an outsider, lifts up a concern to Jesus,“Lord, my servant is…in distress.” Surprised by Jesus’ response, he says,“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.”
I invite you today to take five minutes out of your busy day to pray. Begin the prayer, “Lord, your servant is in distress.” Name the people you know who are in distress and need healing. Don’t be afraid to speak your own name. Close the prayer with,“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and your servants will be healed.” Then, may the healing of Christ turn your unworthiness into peace.
Click to read: Matthew 8: 5-11
Reflection Questions: Where do you find a sense of unworthiness dwelling in your life? How do you see others distressed by a sense of unworthiness? What does it mean to your daily life that a pagan can experience healing when calling upon Jesus? How do the words,“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed,” make you feel?