Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Choose the Heart of Jesus

By Beth DeCristofaro

Cast away your calf, O Samaria!  My wrath is kindled against them; How long will they be unable to attain innocence in Israel?  The work of an artisan, no god at all, Destined for the flames—such is the calf of Samaria!  (Hosea 8:5-6)

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.  At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.  (Matthew 9:35-36)

Father God help me recognize your glorious creation around me all day and remain gratefully joyous.  Walk beside me, Brother Jesus that I might experience and share your mercy today.   Breathe Grace into me today, Holy Spirit, to shine with your light not the flames of worldly illusion.

We are still experienced artisans fashioning our own calves of idolatry even to this day.  And they still lead us into destructive behaviors, stunted personal growth, deadened relationships and even disillusionment with God who doesn’t answer the entreaties we utter to our idols.  Jesus is the Shepherd, compassionate, bestowing mercy no matter  a person’s economic status, what border he crossed, whether she was properly introduced to him or not or was even an adversary. 

It’s a tall order to look at people with empathy all the time but it is life-sucking to view people as antagonists, competitors, threats or inferior as viewed from the back of my golden calf.  God gave the people of Samaria the chance to turn back just like God gave second chances to the Israelites time and again.  Should I do less than offer mercy in Jesus’ name and expect God’s mercy in return?  

Such divisive times.  Where could I today offer reconciliation?  I can start by looking honestly and clearly at the golden calves I have elevated in my life and which obstruct my view and my actions toward Jesus’ brothers and sisters around me.  Cast away any calf and touch Jesus’ robe in a request for healing.

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