As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: 2 Samuel 19-21
Reflection: 2 Samuel 19-21 begins as King David has just learned that his son Absalom was killed in battle. And while victorious in battle, David is singularly focused on his son’s death. ““Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day, “The king is grieving for his son.” 3And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.”
The story continues with a long journey across the Jordan and lots more violence, but I kept coming back to this opening passage, probably because I can relate best to it. Parenting Fail: if you are a parent, you know what that means. And if you are not a parent, you have no doubt been victim of at least one of your parents’ “Parenting Fails” over the years. While I cannot fathom the pain of losing a child such as David has with Absalom (thanks be to God), I can most certainly relate to how the people in this passage, especially the warriors, must have felt. They were returning victorious, yet there was no celebration. They had done well, with good intentions, yet they had to return with their “tails tucked between their legs,” so to speak. “The people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.”
How many times have I turned my children’s victories into defeats? It reminds me of when my son was 10 and made eggs for me, only to be scolded over the Pam that was sprayed all over the stove. I can still see his face. Parenting Fail. And I think in shame of the time when my oldest daughter was 6 and made a total mess of our tiny kitchen making me an Easy Bake Oven cake, which resulted in lots of admonishments (not the least of which was using the oven without my supervision – you can do lots of damage with a lightbulb-fueled oven, you know!). Parenting Fail. And most recently, my youngest basically covered her bathroom in paint while trying in frustration to complete a home-school high school art project. I only added to her frustration and sense of failure when I yelled at her about the mess. Parenting Fail.
During this season of reflection and preparation, I am reminded that God’s graces renew each day. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, I am forgiven and do not carry these Parenting Fails or my many other sins with me; thanks be to God!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank you for this season of Lent, this time of reflection and preparation. We need this time, to slow down, to be intentional, to be grateful. Please help us be mindful of the greatest sacrifice. And help us live as forgiven people, reflecting the face of your Son in every action and interaction in our daily lives. In your Son’s precious name we pray. Amen.
Author: Kristel White, Elder class of 2021
[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].