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O, what fools these mortals be!

by davesandel on March 22nd, 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021                    (today’s lectionary)

(Daniel 13, the story of Susanna, is found only in the Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament)

O, what fools these mortals be!

Can you keep a secret? Let’s rob a bank, have an affair, imprison and assassinate our enemy in the dark of night. We’ll tell no one. We’ll close our eyes so no one else can see. God is not in charge. God has gone on vacation!

The old men, though they were elders and judges of the people, suppressed their consciences, they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven and did not keep in mind just judgments.

Yesterday’s our pastor listed four regrets from the end of Ecclesiastes.

  1. Missing out on the enjoyment of life
  2. Missing opportunities available to you
  3. Worrying when you should be living
  4. Forgetting to serve God and others when you’re young

By the end of life we can’t go back and make new choices. On our deathbeds we experience either integrity or despair. We have lived, and now we will die, in the consequences of the choices we have made in all our life.

Under questioning, Susannah looked up through tears toward heaven, for she trusted wholeheartedly in the Lord. Daniel insisted on examining the elders, even after Susannah was sentenced to death. “Under what tree did you see her?” “Under a mastic tree,” one of them answered. “Under an oak,” said the other. Ah, said Daniel. Your fine lie has cost you your head, for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two, so as to make an end to you both. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

God doesn’t need a human questioner to see clear through my soul. He never goes on vacation; his eyes are always sharp, clear, watching the sparrow, watching me. God knows when I am sleeping, he knows when I’m awake. His love for me extends much farther than my love for him, and what we sometimes call “tough love” is just his flip side of mercy: justice.

So in my foolishness, in my blindness to the light God covers me with his love. I cannot turn away from that; when I do, God just comes around to the other side. And he just keeps coming.

Even when I walk in the dark valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

As Pastor Matt said, and as Margaret’s baseball cap tells everyone, “Today is the youngest I’ll be for the rest of my life.” Solomon kept his advice simple. “Fear God, love God, and keep his commandments. All of them!” Avoid the four regrets by living life with joy and gratitude, saying YES to opportunities, trusting God rather than worrying and struggling for control, and serving serving serving God and those around you. These are not suggestions, they are written as commandments. Live your life and do not be afraid.

Looking only at the ground and the accused woman, Jesus told her accusers, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.” Grumbling to themselves, they went away one by one. “Has no one condemned you?” No one, sir. “Well, neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus didn’t see this woman as a fool. Shakespeare’s famous thought is not how Jesus thinks. He waits, writing in the sand, for one more chance to say “Yes!” Come to me, let me love you. Your life is made especially for you, and I will show you how to live it.

(Daniel 13, Psalm 23, Exodus 33, John 8)


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