Pause. Take the deepest breath you've taken all day.

Use this moment to choose stillness in the midst of news and crisis.

Place yourself into the story – into God's story.

Let God enter your mind and your heart today.

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Then Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you’ve made it a hideout for crooks.”

Matthew 21:12-13

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We tend to clutter up the simplicity of following Jesus. We memorize, discuss, research, make banners, put up stained glass, pipe organs, fancy sound systems, and so many other items to enhance what is supposed to be an action of remembering and celebrating.

Some of these “cluttering” things are simply what we enjoy in our celebrations. We enjoy beautiful music and scenery. We love to see the lilies on Easter. These help us enter into the celebration of worship.

So, what was happening in this moment of Jesus’ story? A place or worship had become a place of retail. Of want versus need. Of aching to have rather than desiring to remember and celebrate.

What is the invitation for us in this story? Maybe we’re encouraged to toss the “stuff” that has taken over our own practice of worshiping God. Maybe through a COVID-19-related church closing, you’ve already been forced to reduce your worship practice to the essentials. So we recognize: worship is simple; it’s you and God and community; it’s the practice of taking time to focus on God, of being grateful, of figuring out why God has given you this life.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

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Loving God, help me remove the clutter in my life, in my walk with you, in my following of you. Help me step back, take a good, honest look at my life, and to find the way to a more faithful way of worshiping you. Amen.

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Go into the next moment of your life with a sense of celebration, of gratitude, of curiosity, and with the knowledge that you are a part of God’s story. Each and every line of it.

Gina Yeager-Buckley

Gina Yeager-Buckley serves the national branch of the Presbyterian Church (USA) as the Associate for Presbyterian Youth and Triennium. Gina lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky and imagines that she will always be an accompanier of young people in some way.

Quiet Contemplation

John Morton

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