Lenten Devotion: Sunday, March 1
“Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel . . . because of the treachery that they have committed against you.”
“The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life.”
I think that the useful parallel to be drawn from today’s readings comes in linking the passage from Daniel and the Gospel of John. This is a very Rational ‘devotion,’ but clearly if one is to make sense of the passage from Daniel in terms of the season of Lent then it must be as a call to turn from our every-day worldly concerns and see ourselves as “the inhabitants of Jerusalem;” this is hardly a novel interpretation on my part. Where the link comes, and where I might be slightly novel, is in Jesus’s own words pointing to God the Father, He who sent Him. In this attribution Jesus highlights the eternal nature of the Triune God, and the eternal nature of the original Covenant given to Israel. In essence this set of readings points to the perpetual nature of humanity’s falling short and turning away from that relationship with the True and Living God On High; it has been going on for a thousand generations– our failings are nothing new under the Sun.
In this way, we can take comfort in the fact that in an everlasting succession of failures on our part there is an everlasting fountain of forgiveness in the Covenant and in the sacrificial work and love of Jesus– as the letter to the Hebrews highlights.
Though we turn out attention elsewhere, God remains ever vigilant.