Thursday, February 29

Thursday, February 29     

Scripture: Psalm 139: 19-22

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
    Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
    your enemies misuse your name.
21 O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
    Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
    for your enemies are my enemies.

Some thoughts:

     Have you ever noticed the endless scandals, cheating, greediness, arrogance, and power struggles that happen in pre-school do not end there? I can easily identify with David’s voice in the words of today’s pericope. I confess, I get angry when people are defiant of God, mock faith, and ridicule the Bible in a hubristic attempt to defame God and his character. Likewise, I would get angry if someone defamed my wife or my children. You don’t speak ill of family, mine or God’s. But when it comes to God, I realize the critic is completely dead in spirit and my anger turns to pity that a person could have such a dark heart. But this callous disregard for God has been in evidence since the beginning of creation. Enter Cain.

     But what is also true upon occasion, is that sometimes the outbursts of bitterness or crass sarcasm is the result of the Holy Spirit bringing conviction as the person is involved in a spiritual struggle. We have only to remember the Apostle Paul’s journey to Damascus.

     In contrast to my anger and frustration, God has pity and patience, not willing that any should perish. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) I confess God is far more gracious than I. But then he knows what eternally awaits those who reject him. In the meantime, Jesus did something about the human alienation from God and each other. He left the glory of a perfect heaven, of perfect communion with the Father and Holy Spirit, of perfect holiness and came to a world filled with evil, sin, and arrogance, to a place of estranged and broken relationships, and to a place of the profane disregard for the sacred. Why? He made the great exchange to make possible the restoration of God’s entire created order.

     We see here again why Christmas cannot be celebrated simply as the birth of Jesus. The nativity is part of a rescue mission. We journey with Jesus through the slough of human hopelessness to the victory on the cross. Look for someone today to whom you can give a word of hope and encouragement. Speak up on behalf of the Savior, it may change their future.

Music: “I Cannot Tell Why He Whom Angels Worship”

Prayer: Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen.   —Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556