Lenten Devotional: Thursday, March 21

Psalm 70Psalm 71Psalm  74Jeremiah 4:9-10, 19-28
Romans 2:12-24
John 5:19-29

You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:23-24

Accountability. God loves us, and so we are compelled, out of love for God, to be all that God wants us to be. Paul writes to the Romans that when we live in such a way that people around us believe our God is dishonored by our actions, we not only injure ourselves, but also those who are looking to us to prove that Christians do live a transformed life. If we dishonor our own body, we also dishonor Christ’s body in the world.

Contemplating how we are to live in our culture can give us pause. The good news is that Christ desires us to bring this concern to him. We need only confess what has separated us from him, and ask him to show the way to repair the relationship. In stillness, we sit in prayer, asking God to forgive our sins, known and unknown. Then we express our desire to serve him, and try again. We are not required to be perfect followers of the law, but to return again and again to Christ for his will and direction.

The prayer of Thomas Merton so beautifully expresses this desire that comes from the heart to please God, even if we are not sure that what we are doing is, in fact, pleasing to God. So many times in our outreach efforts both here and abroad, we have tried to serve God only to later learn that the way we served actually hurt our neighbor. We make mistakes, even in our urgent desire to be useful to the building of God’s kingdom. This Lent, may God reveal to us how to serve him more nearly, each day.