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Descending into hell, ascending into heaven

by davesandel on March 6th, 2012

Tuesday March 6, 2012

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Matthew 23:1-11

Jesus said to the crowds and his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees preach but they do not practice.  Do not follow their example.  As for you, do not be called Rabbi.  Do not be called Master.  The greatest among you must be your servant.”

This morning I sat on my couch, playing with a slinky.  It helps some people talk; it helps me listen.  For the thousandth time in my life I noticed how the coiled wire pours so smoothly from one place to the next.  I held it in my hand.  I tipped my hand.  In a slithery, slippery second, my left hand was empty and my right hand was full.  And then I did it all over again.  Mesmorizing.

Jesus “emptied himself” and became a servant.  He was poured out, an offering for all, onto the ground of death.  Then in Jesus’ resurrection God trumped death’s trick.  Thus ended the old routine of following one sacrifice with another while we the sacrificers slunk around between the offerings, still feeling guilty.

Now we can do what we so miserably failed to do before.  God has always “desired mercy, not sacrifice.”  Now you can do it, David, now you pour yourself out.  Get empty.  Load others up with all the love you’ve got.  Give it away.

This is not an idea; it’s an action plan.  There are Action Items involved.  Verbs.  Jesus has freed me to open my eyes and search for ways to give and bless and lift up and edify one person after another, one moment after another, every day of the rest of my life.  Every time I do it, I get filled again right to the brim.

This is freedom indeed.

Oh Jesus, it is for this freedom that you have set me free.  Let me stand firm, then, and not be burdened again by a yoke of fear or greed or failure.  Empty out my ego and fill my soul.

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