Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What must I do?

During Lent we will be following a local series of lections.If you are looking for the Common Lectionary References try here Revised Common Lectionary

The principle reading for this 29th March, 2009 the 5th Sunday in Lent is Mark 10:17-31, other readings include Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 119:9-16, Hebrews 5:5-14

It seems that there is both a universal and a particular message
in this story of Jesus 's encounter with a rich young man
The particular message for this man
is that there is one area in which he hold himself back
from God.
That he may do all sorts of other things right
but there is still
one thing more
he will not surrender his fondness
for this world's wealth and security
The general message is that for each one of us
is there is always
"one thing more"
it may not be money, or security
(it is very seductive)
but we are not to hold anything back.

What is it that we are reluctant to hand over to God?

The young man, and the disciples have rightly identified
that this is hard.
Let us not be seduced by the then can it happen?
What is beiong said here is that
WE cannot effect our own salvation
It is indeed impossible for us.
We will always be compromised
always seduced by some other thing.
Our faith must be and can only be in God alone.

We can have faith that all this will work out
but we may not quite understand how.
We are not called to understand.
Weare called to have faith!

Thomas Merton, who we have talked about
in recent weeks
reminds us that this is serious business
we are not playing games with God
(so often we do!)
we are trying to bring our real self before God
because it is the only self
that is known by God.
This young man comes to Jesus
he presents not his real self
but what he wants the world to think he is like.
"All these commandments I keep,
I am a good person"
But Jesus sees right through this,
as he does so often with people who seek healing.
"You need forgiveness!" he might say
"You have go to sort out your relationships".
No game playing.
It is not a reward exercise
in which we get a prize for being good
It is that when we are known by God
that our life is fulfilled, right, good.
Anything less is a game.
It is (as Merton says) a false self.
God only knows our real self,
the pursuit and promotion of the false sself
leaves us sad and unsatisfied.
This young man grieves
the disciples are profounbdly shocked.
But the affirmation is this:
This is God's work, and with God nothing is impossible.
Anything else is false,
at best a game, and at worst the road to hell.
Can Easter be for you and me,
this time of presenting the real-self to God?
Of commitment to Christ, that we know is right.
But we may be too frightened to let go
of one (or maybe more than one ) thing?
What 'one thing' is God inviting me to yield to him?
How can I do it?
Pray each day: LORD HELP ME TO BE REAL

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