Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Bystanders

Invitation to Prayer
Reverence for creation comes fairly easily for most people. Reverence for other people remains more of a challenge, especially if those other people’s lives happen to impinge upon your own . . . Particular human beings rarely do things the way I think they should do them, and when they prevent me from doing what I think I should be doing, then I can run short on reverence for them. One remedy for my condition is to pay attention to them when I can, even when they are in my way (Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, 27).

The Psalm (Psalm 30:1-5)
I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

The Scripture Reading (Luke 23:35-36)
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."

For Reflection
From the lips of bystanders and soldiers “Save Yourself” was a taunt, a mocking command. From our lips “Save Yourself” is a life motto, defining what we wake up and try to do everyday. We save ourselves by what we accumulate and who we know. We save ourselves through hard work and sound investments – or so we thought. Self-salvation is an illusion.

Jesus refused to save himself. How do we do the same? How do we take care of ourselves without trying to “save” ourselves?

Closing Prayer
Lord Jesus, you came to seek and to save the lost. In order to accomplish that, you refused to save yourself even though you could have easily done so. Teach me to lose my life in order to find the life you intend for me to have – the life you died to make possible. Amen.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I’m a simple person. I can’t remember where I read this, but I like it. To paraphrase: When you invite Jesus into your life, you’re saved. You’ve earned a spot in heaven for all eternity. Everything you do after that is just to negotiate your room assignment. Will you be living in a penthouse suite with a glorious view of the whole shebang, or will you be living on the 2nd floor, wrapped around the elevator shaft with a view of the dumpster in the parking lot?

So, as a Christian I’m already saved. The work was done on the cross and God’s not going to do any more. My only job now is to accept the gift with gratitude and appreciation. And one of the ways I can do that is by simply doing what He asks me to do at any given moment, no matter how menial or trivial it may seem. Be of service. I need to stop whining “Not now, I’m busy” or “Why me? Can’t you get someone else to do that?” When He says “Jump”, all I need to do is ask “How high?” I remember when I was a child it made my mother very happy when she told me to picked up my room and I did it without any fuss. It made her even happier when I cleaned it up without having to be asked. I think it’s much the same with Jesus!

Every time I pray I ought to thank Jesus for not “saving himself” from the cross. If He had taken the easy way out, I shudder to think what my life would be like.