The next right thing

April 1, 2021 | Lisa Price

Editor's Note: This year’s Lenten Devotional from Presbyterians Today invites us to reflect upon the gift of Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace:
“In the Bible, shalom can be translated not only as peace, but also as tranquility, security, well-being, health, welfare, completeness, and safety.” The writer goes on to encourage, “How can we each receive this gift of shalom and, in turn, bestow it upon the world?”
On this journey, we’ve come through 33 days and 5 Sundays since Ash Wednesday, when we reflected on “we are dust and to dust we shall return.” Now we arrive at Holy Week beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his death on a cross, and the joy of his resurrection. This process reminds us that in Christ, God was reconciling the world.
In the aforementioned devotional, Ivy Lopedito, Christian Brooks, and Donna Frischknecht Jackson highlight one way forward:
“As we journey through Holy Week, think of hurts, grudges, and hatred that need to be nailed to the cross and laid to rest in a tomb. Think about the healing power of reconciliation and where you have seen it in your life.”
Join us this week as we consider all these things and seek God’s presence on our journey.

About the author: Lisa’s friendly face is the first you seen when you come into the ZPC office. Lisa loves being moved by God's word, connecting with people, Girl Scout leading energetic fourth graders, and spending time with her family and 6 month old labradoodle puppy Maizy. Lisa has served at ZPC since 2003. She is married to her best friend Shawn and they have 2 sweet kids, Evey, fourth grade, and Grayson, second grade.

In today's scripture, we're challenged to change the narrative of not only choosing to love our neighbors as ourselves but to take it a step further and love as Jesus loved those around him.

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

In the Disney movie Frozen 2, the heroine, Anna, finds herself in a grief-filled place. She thinks her sister and her best friend, a playful snowman named Olaf, have both died. She wants to lay down, cry, and be done. Instead, she chooses to listen to that tiny voice that tells her to do the next right thing, to put one foot in front of the other. Every time I hear her sing and process these emotions, it gives me chills and inspires me. Here is a verse from her song:

So I'll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing
And, with it done, what comes then?
When it's clear that everything will never be the same again
Then I'll make the choice to hear that voice
And do the next right thing

In a traditional year, ZPC would have a Maundy Thursday service today. We would hear about the last supper Jesus had with his disciples before he endured the cross–how he shared himself in a meal, washed their feet, and gave them this new commandment to love as he loved them. He's commissioning them to make the truth of reconciliation to God through Christ known to the world through the choice of love. With Jesus' last few moments on Earth, he was preparing his disciples for the rest of their time on Earth to make the next right choice, as a parent might similarly prepare their child.

After Jesus had been nailed to the cross, the disciples may have felt like Anna that things would never be the same again. Would they do the next right thing–share themselves in a meal, wash their enemy's feet, and love as he loved? Would they be able to witness with their lives the way Jesus had witnessed with his life?

Like the disciples we have a choice; will we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and do the next right, loving thing? We can choose to show our neighbors, our families, the challenging people in our lives who God is if we love one another. It's a commandment and also our next right choice.

Here is a link to Anna’s song the Next Right Thing.


Lord, help us make the next right choice with the challenging people in our lives so we are revealing more of your kingdom on Earth. Thank you for grace when we make destructive choices and, because of your infinite loving freedom, a second chance to do the next right, loving thing.