Thursday March 2 2017

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Scripture: Deuteronomy 7: 6-11

Key verse: (6-8a) For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession. It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples.  It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors…

Reflection:  Yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, some of us had ashes placed on our foreheads – the ashes of repentance. During this Lenten season, we will often be reminded of our sinfulness and need for forgiveness. Why, you might wonder, is there such an emphasis on seeing the bad in us instead of focusing on the good?  The answer is that, if left to ourselves, we can easily ignore our sinfulness and live as if everything is perfect.  We might even start to believe that we are entitled to the good things of this life and deserving of every blessing that comes our way.

God’s people in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the New Testament times were no different. God’s chosen people sometimes believed they had earned God’s blessing because of their diligence and their faithfulness. You can tell because, repeatedly, the writers of Scripture point out that God’s favor and blessing is not a result of what we bring to the table.  It comes from God’s love and God’s goodness, not ours.

The challenge of Lent is remembering, every day, that we are dust and that the Lord God of heaven and earth is the one who puts breath in our life and makes us whole.  That’s not just a focus on what is bad in us. That’s keeping things in the right perspective. It’s not about us – how good OR bad we are. It’s about how good God is and how much God continues to love us – good and bad.

Prayer: Deliver us, O God, from our casual complacency and our arrogant entitlement. Help us acknowledge our need for your grace and forgiveness. Then, give us courage to live in gratitude and appreciation for your grace, your acceptance, and your love. In the name of the God who chooses us we pray.  Amen.

Author: Von Clemans

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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