Daily Reflection
April 5th, 2003
Barbara Dilly
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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Jeremiah 11:18-20
Psalm 7:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
John 7:40-53

At this time of trial, I am most drawn to the Scriptures to find comfort from the anxieties of war.  But my Lenten journey this year is devoted to finding a way to focus on God as a refuge from the evil within rather than the evil without.  For this reason, Psalm 7:2-3, and 9-12, is helpful to me today.  This reading can be read from the perspective of a just person who calls out for safety from evildoers.  Such a person can take refuge in God.  But during this period of intense self-reflection, I am considering that this God of justice calls us to search our minds and hearts for our own evil plots.

As I pray, “O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge,” I am also considering that the readings of today reflect a self-righteousness on the part of the prophet Jeremiah and the Psalm writer that is not much different from that of the Pharisees who sought to condemn Jesus from their sense of justice.  That is what I think Christ’s journey to the cross is all about.  It is about learning, as Jesus witnesses to us, that it is necessary for us to submit to the just Judge who searches our hearts and souls for our own undoing.  Rather than seeing the world as comprised of those of us who do justice and those who do evil, I think it is better to see ourselves and the rest of humanity as capable of all doing justice and all doing evil in our minds and hearts, as well as in our actions.

As we entrust our fears and anxieties to God and pray that God will deliver us from evil, it is well that we pray to be delivered from the evil within us as well as the evil outside of us.  I am certainly not innocent of malice toward others.  I pray that God will be a refuge for my heart, and for the hearts of others, from the evil within that allows us to perceive ourselves as unrepentantly just and others an unambiguously evil.

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