Saturday, March 14, 2015

Humble In God’s Living Waters

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent B

By Beth DeCristofaro

Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming. He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth.” Hosea 6:3)

I tell you, the (tax collector) went home justified, not the (Pharisee); for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:3-4, 14)

Years and years ago, I was shocked when I heard a professor comment that in many ways we create God in our own image. Certainly the Pharisee is an example of this concept. He prays more to himself than to God, lording it over others he judges to be substandard and less virtuous than he is. But I also recognize this attitude in myself when I lose patience or demand that I am right even if disrespecting another. In acting thus I cannot see God in that other person because the god-plank in my own eye blinds me.

Thomas R. Steagald, author of Every Disciple's Journey: Following Jesus to a God-Focused Faith, states "Lent demands that we acknowledge both that we need straightening and that we cannot straighten ourselves." The prayer of the tax collector asks God to straighten him out in a prayer of contrition. He places himself low, at the feet of God as in were, and his plea is humble. He opens himself to the up welling power of grace which can transform his life. In Hosea, God is recognized as life-giving and unfailing spring rain. My own pride or self-aggrandizement is far from life-giving. Which should I choose? God grants me that choice every day of my life.

As I look back over the day, consider the moments when I acted as Pharisee or as tax collector. What triggered these responses in me and where was God in those moments? As I enter the new day, pray that the spring rain of God’s presence wash over me and produce blossoms of humility.

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