Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
Lenten Reflection for Day 39
Date: April 6, 2012, Good Friday
Author: John Harris
Bible Passage: Luke 10:8–12 (NRSV)
8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
Reflection: In this Good Friday text, we listen to Jesus’ advice to the Seventy disciples as they prepare to go out into the world, two by two, to preach the “good news” about the Kingdom of God.
For us 21st century Christians, Jesus invites us to be hospitable to the strangers in our midst. And who may that stranger be? I think it goes beyond being kind to those sometimes “pesky” missionary Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who occasionally bang on our doors. After all, aren’t they just 21st century versions of the Seventy sent out by Jesus? Unfortunately, modern day culture has taught us to be suspicious of strangers and those folks who may be different from us in dress, language, culture, or appearance. These folks just may be “angels in disguise” or just may give us a quick glimpse of the “kingdom of God.” As we reflect on Jesus’ death this Good Friday morning, remember the forsaken outcast, a stranger to his people, who gave marvelous signs of the Kingdom of God, yet we all chose to ignore Him.
We need to welcome the stranger, whether that person is new to our neighborhood, our school or work (or play!), or our faith community. We think this morning on all those strangers who have become good friends and neighbors. We welcome their diversity of thought and traditions and their ability to help us see “God’s Kingdom” through new eyes.
Prayer: Dear God, I know what it is like to be a “stranger in a strange land.” Help me to welcome the stranger in our midst and to see Your Kingdom anew in that person. Amen.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Lenten Reflection for Day 38—Maundy Thursday
Date: April 5, 2012
Author: Pastor Pat Harris
Bible Passage: Revelation 21:5 (NRSV)
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
On this Maundy Thursday, we think on Jesus’ new commandment from the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you.” These words, too, are trustworthy and true, but oh, so very hard to live up to. If we were able to come even close to the gold standard that Jesus sets for loving each other, the world would truly be made new.
We are certainly called upon to strive to love each other as Jesus loves us, but we are weak human beings. The neighbor who always criticizes us because our property maintenance does not meet his standards is really hard to love. The co-worker who doesn’t do his or her share of the work just makes us angry. The teenager down the street who dresses differently and plays loud music continually aggravates us. Try as we might, we just can seem to come up to Jesus’ standard for loving these “difficult” people.
When God fulfills God’s promise to make all things new, will our neighbors be changed so they don’t irritate us, or will we be the ones changed? Perhaps we will be transformed so that our love for other people is not dependent on their “lovability”?
Prayer: All loving God, may you make us new so that we may fulfill Jesus’ command to love one another as we have been loved. Amen
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Lenten Reflection for Day 37
Date: Wednesday April 4, 2012
Author: Ed Olney
Bible Passage: Genesis 12:4–5 (NRSV)
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan,
First of all, Abram is told to leave his home and family, pack up and head southwest to a yet-undisclosed land. That, in itself, took faith. He is told that out of him will come a great nation who will, in turn, be a blessing to many others. We see this in the verses preceding today’s scripture:
Genesis 12:1–3 (NRSV)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Reading on in Genesis 12, we find that all of this actually came true because of the complete faith of Abram and his family in obeying God and making the journey. Can we relate this act of faith to our own Lenten journey? I believe the answer is yes, with the help of God. Our immediate reward is Easter.
When we look at both the Old and New Testaments, we notice that God is always the one taking the initiative. So it is not our doing, but God’s which leads us to salvation, but we must have the faith, or, as we say, “grace through faith.” So it is faith in God that leads us forward.
Prayer: Please God, give us the sense of faith, obedience and trust that we need to complete our life journey and beyond. That, finally, we will achieve our goal of everlasting life with you and your son, Jesus. In His Name we pray, Amen