Sunday, March 16, 2014

Monday in the Second Week of Lent

Today’s psalm is a beautiful song of thanksgiving for God’s bounty to us and a celebration of God’s power. “You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of the waves, the tumult of the peoples,” the psalmist says. The results of God’s power are, for us, abundance, celebrated in this beautiful image:
The hills gird themselves with joy,
            The meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
            The valleys deck themselves with grain,
            They shout and sing together for you.”
How well this captures the rebirth of spring that is beginning all around us!

The theme of God’s power continues with the story of Joseph’s phenomenal success in Egypt. Because of his prudence, when famine struck, “all the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain.” Joseph sees himself channeling God’s power to preserve his people.

We see Christ’s power in the reading from Mark, as Christ casts out demons. Though the demons recognize him as the Son of God, he cautions them not to reveal the fact. We see him pass this same power over demons to the twelve he calls to be his apostles.

Paul, in the passage from his first letter to the Corinthians, takes a different view of God’s power. The true apostles, he says, are not powerful, but weak. “We have become like the rubbish of the world.” Yet he admonishes the believers in Corinth to imitate him—become servants of Christ, returning good for evil. You have gotten it all wrong, he says. You’ve been acting like kings instead of servants. So what happened to God’s power? Paul says, “The kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.” Real power, the power of God that resulted in the birth of Christianity, doesn’t arise from arrogance and “talk,” but from the humble works of Christ’s servants, spreading the truth of the Resurrection. The rebirth of spring reminds us again of this power, the new life we have in Christ’s rising from the dead.

— Anne Ribble

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