Thursday, June 04, 2015

Grant Us Deliverance

By Beth DeCristofaro

Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “My love, get up.  Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.”  She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. (Tobit 8:4-5)

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”  (Mark 32-34)

Deliver me and have mercy on me, Lord God of all life.  Deliver and lead me in loving as I seek to build in my own small way your Kingdom here on earth. 

The tale of Tobit and his family is full of dysfunction, isolation, mayhem, blaming and desperation.  But it is also a tale of a family which hopes and which has confidence that the God in whom they firmly believe will deliver them from all evil.  It is a story of a family who shows loving care and concern for each other in spite of persecution.  These are people who turn to God in times of trial with the expectation that as God’s kinsmen the respect with which they deal with each other emulates God’s covenantal involvement.

Jesus’ answer to the scribe leaves everyone speechless probably in confusion as well as awe.  How do we know how to love when we are so wrapped up in judging and categorizing?  If we indeed put God at the center then the love flows.   If we open ourselves to be constantly in God’s love, even if our own perceptions are dulled, then we can trust that God will show us the way despite murderous demons or spiteful neighbors.  Love will flow from love.  Sarah and Tobiah brought their dependence and deep faith in God with them into the wedding chamber.  As Jesus told the scribe, they were close to the Kingdom.

If we feel anxious, fearful, hungry, hurt or angry might we practice exploring those feelings for where God is and find His power and grace within us?  It is God’s grace which fills and animates.  We can turn our own demons over to God’s transforming grace.  It is hard yet sacred work to love God with your all and others as your own, beloved, self.

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