Friday, March 1, 2013

Second Friday of Lent

Psalm 69Jeremiah 5:1-9Romans 2:25–3:18John 5:30-47

In today’s Psalm, while the psalmist is despairing and vengeful, the plea to God is clear: “Rescue me from sinking in the mire … draw near to me, redeem me . . .”

The despair we sometimes feel – and blame on the world around us – may appear valid at times, for there is much wrong in the world. Yet when we despair, we dishonor the possibility of our making a positive difference to the outcome.

Jeremiah opens with an invocation to search the squares of Jerusalem “to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth. . . “ This is the second part of our inquiry: What is it that prevents us from doing justice (not merely “loving justice”) AND seeking truth?

All too often, when we experience pain and loss –through death, divorce or loss of employment or through crises in the nation or the world– we despair at our ability to make a difference.

Today, the Lenten lessons seem to encourage us to reflect not only on the meaning of Jesus’ life but also on the substance of our own lives. Rather than indulging our despair and wrath in our personal lives or at the world around us, we can search for examples of people who respond to injury with loving, to injustice with doing justice, to lies and obfuscation with speaking truth –whether within our own families or the larger community.

Instead of blame, we can ask – in what small or large way – is there an opportunity to do justice and speak truth: reading to a child, writing a letter to the Editor, working at a soup kitchen, visiting an ill friend, testifying before our local government or the Virginia General Assembly?

— Kay Slaughter

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