Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lenten Meditation XVIII

inspired by Psalms 103:1-4

Today's readings feature the parable of the Prodigal Son. It's one of my favorites. I draw my lesson not from the prodigal, who probably exists in all of us to some degree, but from the good son who stayed home and obeyed his father. He was incensed to have part of his  inheritance slaughtered to celebrate the return of his profligate brother, much the same way that my namesake prophet, Jonah,  was upset when the Lord repented of the punishment he had in store for the Ninevites. It's easy to be a little jealous of the seemingly undeserved good fortune of those you deem unworthy. The trick, of course, is not to judge the worthiness or unworthiness of others. Leave the judgment to the Lord and you'll be happier for it. It won't be easy, but Lent is a good time to work on stuff like that. I'll be praying for you.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lenten Meditation XVI

inspired by Psalms 1:1-4

My son once told me that if there is a fence around a playground, the children will roam the confined area to it's edges. However, if the fence is removed, the children will huddle in the center of the playground and not venture very far from there. A fence, in other words, is not a confinement, but something that sets the children free. It's there for their protection, and so it allows them to engage the world as they are - inquisitive and adventurous children. So it is with the Law of God. It is there, not to restrict our choices, but to set us free to become what God created us to be.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lenten Meditation XV

inspired by Matthew 20:17-28

Today's message: self-sacrifice, not self-preservation. If you're worried about what will become of you if you focus on the problems of others at the expense of your own, you're not getting it. The old saw, "God helps those that help themselves," is not the Christian ideal. God helps those who help others. That's where our minds and hearts need to be.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lenten Meditation XIV

inspired by Matthew 23:1-12

Whatever you do, do it to make yourself more pleasing to the Lord, not to make yourself seem more holy to your community.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lenten Meditation XIII

inspired by Luke 6:36-38

This refers not just to generosity in the giving of alms, but equally to generosity of spirit when it comes to judgment, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. Lent is a good time to re-evaluate your stance on social justice issues. Just sayin'.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lenten Meditation XII

inspired by Genesis 2:15-17

Today's first reading is the famous story of Abraham taking his only son up on a mountain to offer him up as a burnt offering to the Lord. The Lord stays Abraham's hand, and instead offers up His own Son for the salvation of Abraham and all his descendants. There is a beautiful symmetry here, and the lesson is that if we withhold nothing from God, then He will withhold nothing from us.

This mirrors yesterday's exhortation from Matthew 5:48 to 'be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.' It would seem that God doesn't require anything of us that he hasn't also required of Himself. There is a kind of validation in that that is not available anywhere else in our human existence. Something to think about during Lent.