Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 37; Habakkuk 3:1-18; Philippians 3:12-21; John 17:1-8
Today’s Writer: Stephen Green
In today’s texts, we read from Psalms 37 where King David implores us not to give in to anger or to cry out against God for the injustice of wicked men having riches or success; he sings of God’s faithfulness to bring justice to the righteous and to the wicked.
There is a common theme in these readings. They teach us of the coming salvation of the Lord. Though evildoers appear to prosper, God will soon bring justice and salvation. He says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (v.7). We too often forget about the faithfulness and trustworthiness of our God, and we fall into the same trap that David warns against. We cry out, “Why God? Why do you allow those who are the embodiment of greed and selfishness to prosper? Why do you let pimps roam the streets and dictators manipulate and torment their countrymen? And yet you let me and others in YOUR kingdom suffer and go without the luxuries that they have and misuse?!” These are the words of the unredeemed flesh…and the very reason for our need of Lent.
Let us put aside our own greed, envy, and lack of understanding. Christ is King and He gives unto us salvation. Who are we to tell God that He is not doing His job by letting the wicked prosper in their ways? Let us, as we fast, humble ourselves before our God, be still in His presence, and seek to be purged of our sin and be made more like Christ. Let our fasting not be merely the burden of tradition, but instead let it be the joy of growing in Christ and being transformed by His Spirit’s work in us!
In closing I would like to encourage you to pray the prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Image by Mario De Carli (used by permission via Creative Commons)