Wednesday, March 04, 2009

With Me to the End

March 5, 2009

Thursday of the First Week in Lent

The LORD is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar. Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me. The LORD is with me to the end. LORD, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands! Psalm 138:6-8

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Matthew 7:8-11


The Prayer of Esther

My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I was wont to hear from the people of the land of my forefathers that you, O Lord, chose Israel from among all peoples, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, as a lasting heritage, and that you fulfilled all your promises to them.

Be mindful of us, O Lord. Manifest yourself in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord. You know all things.


Nonrandom thoughts today…linked only by the source (today’s readings).

Nonrandom Thought #1: Bread and stones appear in the reading...again. The image of a parent mistaking stones for bread alludes to many images not the least of all is how Jesus was tempted in the desert. The Evil One emptied his entire bag of tricks trying to get Jesus to give in. Yet, although he was human like us, even Jesus had his limits. And one of those limits was sin. Nothing could tempt Jesus to use his heavenly powers to accomplish earthly tasks.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread." He said in reply, "It is written: 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:1-4

Nonrandom Thought #2: Esther seems to be at the end of her rope…probably about the same place Jesus was after forty days alone and hungry in the desert. Yet, Esther did not give in to earthly sources to escape her distress. She turned to God as the only source to help her out of her distress. We understand why Jesus could resist temptations. He was like us in all things BUT SIN.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14-15

Nonrandom Thought #3: There must have been a strong force of the Holy Spirit at work in Esther for her to be so Christ-like in her self-denial. What saved her was not her own virtue but “God’s loving fidelity” which never abandons anyone.

Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. Hebrews 3:13


Why don’t we just ASK for what we need? God will always be there. God will always be here.

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