Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday after Ash Wednesday (2/11/05)

Readings from the Daily Lectionary

New Testament: Matthew 8:14-22

Epistle: Galatians 3:6-14

In the ninth verse of the thirty-fourth Psalm, we read, “O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes that

“This is the first commandment, the entire gospel: ‘Fear God.’ Forget the many things which you do fear.

“Do not fear the coming day, do not fear other people, do not fear power and might, even if they are able to deprive you of property and life; do not fear the great ones of this world; do not fear yourself; do not fear sin...

“But fear God and God alone; for God has power over the powers of this world; the whole world must fear God--God has power to give us life or to destroy us; everything else is a game--only God is in earnest, entirely in earnest. Fear God’s earnestness--and give God the glory.

“God demands it as the creator of the world, as our creator, and God demands it as the reconciler, who made peace between God and humankind in Christ. God demands it as the Savior, who will liberate us in the end from all sin and burden.”

Let us pray:

Lord, we confess that many of our daily fears are centered on our selfish concerns. Help us to look to you with the profound respect and honor due you as our Creator and Savior. Amen.

In the eighth verse of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, we read,

“Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

Henri Nouwen writes that

“While visiting the University of Notre Dame, I met an older experienced professor who had spent most of his life there.

“He said with a certain melancholy in his voice, ‘You know, my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.’

“Don’t we often look at the many events of our lives as interruptions? But what if our interruptions are in fact challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place? What if the events of our history are molding us as a sculptor molds his clay, and if it is only in a careful obedience to these molding hands that we can discover our real vocation and become mature Christians?”

Let us pray:

Lord, You come secretly into our lives in so many ways. This Lent, give us a new sense of vision to notice your ways we had overlooked before. Renew us with a special sense of Your presence. Amen.

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