Monday, March 13, 2017

He That Offers Praise as a Sacrifice Glorifies Me

(By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions],
via Wikimedia Commons

By Melanie Rigney

Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord…. (Isaiah 1:18)

“Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you? When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:16-17,21,23)

“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:11-12)

Lord, I surrender.

So here we are, nearly two weeks past Ash Wednesday. How’s it going so far? Staying away from the wine or chocolate? Still off social media? Setting aside for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal the money you would have spent on coffee? All laudable things, to be sure. If you’ve been lacking in the discipline department, pray for help in getting back on course. If you haven’t slipped, give thanks and keep on keeping on.

Today’s readings remind us that Lent is about more than stuff, whether it’s doing more or having less. It’s about living our faith, day in and day out, every day, not just for these forty days. It’s about more than holding ourselves up as shining examples of Christianity, not patting ourselves on the back for the quantity or quality of our sacrifice; indeed, exalting ourselves will only lead to being humbled.

Lent is also about setting aside the comments we receive from others who are in awe of anyone who can live without a smartphone or dedicate an hour a week to adoration or be home for dinner with the family every night for six weeks. It’s about the rigor we attempt to find and live past Easter as we contemplate the greatest gift we will ever receive. It’s about setting things and ourselves right—and, when we do, turning any praise over to Him who deserves it all.

Identify a point of praise you are holding onto rather than sacrificing it. How can you find the discipline to change that? 

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