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Jun 01st
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. March 12, 2009 - Thursday Meditation (Total Self-Giving Possible?)
March 12, 2009 - Thursday Meditation (Total Self-Giving Possible?) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 13:21

Can I do that? Can I even hear that? It’s not just my food, not just my money, but my self – total self-giving, just as Jesus Himself was the total self-giving of the Father.

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Luke 16:19-31 "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. (20) And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores, (21) who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (22) The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; (23) and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom. (24) And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' (25) But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he  is comforted here, and you are in anguish. (26) And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.' (27) And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, (28) for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' (29) But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'  (30) And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' (31) He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"
Meditation by Robert P. Heaney

“. . . I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
The Greek word we translate “repentance” means to change your mind, not specifically to feel sorry, but to turn around 180 degrees, to change your priorities, to head back in the other direction. Good advice at the start of Lent. The reading from Isaiah makes clear what that “other direction” is: “. . . give of your own food to the hungry . . .” “. . . satisfy the needs of those in trouble . . .” Not “give bread”, but “give your bread”.

I don’t really want to do that. I need that bread myself. And if I have some left over, well, I am probably going to need that tomorrow. “You’re going the wrong way . . . turn around! Head the other direction!”
Can I do that? Can I even hear that? It’s not just my food, not just my money, but my self – total self-giving, just as Jesus Himself was the total self-giving of the Father. “Be perfect”, Jesus said, “as your heavenly Father is perfect.” There is no dodging the challenge; it threads through all of the New Testament.
Admittedly, we can’t all be like Francis of Assisi; we can’t all throw it aside or all join a religious order. Someone has to farm and doctor and teach and parent and fly planes. God often gives back in trust some of what we give God of our totality. “Yes, teach, but teach for the kingdom.” “Heal, but heal for the kingdom.” “Farm, but farm for the kingdom.” “Heal so that no one is left untreated; farm so that no one is left hungry.”

Getting our heads around what this might mean for us is the stuff of a retreat – the retreat the Church gives us each year – Lent. But we have to make room – make time. Here perhaps we have helpful counsel once again from the first reading. Isaiah stresses the importance God attaches to Sabbath observance. (Apparently the Israelites of Isaiah’s time were as devoted to business as usual seven days a week as we seem to be.) Perhaps the most intangible of God’s many gifts is time. We need to give some of that back. We need to set time aside to ask God to speak to us about what self-giving means for us individually. Time is sacred.. We need to recognize that and be grateful.

Sunday celebration of the Eucharist (thanksgiving) is a start, of course. But only a start. It is most transformative when it is a coming together of those who are parenting for the kingdom, healing and teaching for the kingdom, farming and manufacturing for the kingdom. A coming together to draw strength for a new week of work for the kingdom, strength drawn from one another and from Him who is total self-giving. It can’t – it shouldn’t – be rushed. It needs to spill over into the whole day, a day when, as Isaiah says, we are not totally focused on our own pursuits.

Can I do this? I am not sure I even want to. But perhaps this Lent I can give God a little of the time God has given me, time in which God’s power can transform my reluctance if I let it. 

Supplementary Reading
Positive Expectations by Sheila Schuller Coleman

Run with perseverance the race marked out – Hebrews 12:1

Have you ever stood at the starting line of a race? Have you ever stood at the foot of a mountain? Have you ever stood at the back of a church to walk down the aisle posed and eager to begin a new life in marriage?

What did you feel? Was your heart racing with excitement? Was there positive anticipation? Your positive expectations provide the powerful thrust needed to launch you into something new.

Take a moment to capture the excitement you feel today. Record it in a journal. Then, the positive force of diving into a new endeavor can be available for harnessing and you can tap into it whenever obstacles occur further down the course. God calls you to run the race well in order to make it across the finish line successfully.
* * *

What new endeavor are you ready to launch? Capture the excitement you feel today about that new thing by recording it in a journal.

* * * 
This excerpt was taken from the "Power for Life Daily Devotional"
PRAY as if everything depended on HIM. ACT as if everything depended on YOU.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2009 08:33

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