Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 23rd, 2010

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
John 8:21-30

Our long hard winter in the Midwest has been interminable with the extreme cold and seemingly unending snow and grey days.   However, in the face of the suffering of the people in Haiti, our woes are minor.   Yet, it was very easy to become depressed and feel as if this winter would never end.  And so, it is no problem relating to the the cry of the Israelites in today’s readings.

The Israelites are tired, hungry, thirsty and giving up hope as they continue in their journey from Egypt.  They were fed up with their situation and complained against Moses and God.  And things only got worse!  Yet, God WAS there, in their midst, but it was only when the Israelites turned back to God that they could know God’s presence.

How often, it is so easy to lapse into hopelessness in difficult situations, and look for someone or something to blame for our misery.  Why does someone dear to us have to suffer from ongoing illness?  How can one make a living in such a struggling economy? When will there be signs of hope in our lives? 

In  the book, The Shack by William Young,  the main character, Mack, is in despair over a family tragedy.  In the story, Mack, reluctantly returns to the scene of the death. It is there that he meets God. 

Where do we/I meet God?  Is it in the wonderful warmth of the sunlight that promises Spring?  Or in the lifting of the cloud of illness?  Or in the good fortune of a job offer?
Or in the comfort of friends and family?  What about in our desolate days of struggle and hardship?  Is it possible that God is also with us when life isn’t going ‘our way’? 

Today’s psalmist cries out, “ ...let my cry of help come to you; ...when I call, be quick to answer me!”  Often, it is in our misery that we DO seek God, but perhaps more to answer our pleas in OUR way.  Perhaps, Mack’s encounter with God teaches us something...that God is already here, in our midst!  It is we who need to ‘turn to God’ in the moment, to know that we are loved in the NOW, in and through whatever life offers to us.  And it is God who will show us the way to make it through our difficulties, even if we are unable to overcome such difficulties.

Jesus struggles with the people of his time in today’s Gospel...telling them that where he goes, they can not follow unless they believe that Jesus is ‘I Am’.....
Many are confused by his statements, yet others ‘get it’.   They get a glimpse of what the real message is....  Jesus’ life was to help us know that WE are loved and that God IS with us, regardless of what we are experiencing in the NOW.

How simple, yet how difficult to grasp such a direct invitation to open ourselves to the GOD within and around us!

It is really about opening to the sacrament of the moment...to ‘make holy’ in the NOW.  Just as Moses and Jesus were able to be/live God’s presence to and with the people of their day, we are each called to BE God’s presence in the lives of those we encounter in our lives, as well as to allow others to BE God’s presence to us in our NOW.

As these weeks of Lent continue, my prayer is that I/we find the moments/spaces to turn to the GOD who loves us, opening to the life and love that is ours, if only we are willing to ‘tune in’ and allow God’s love to be with us regardless of what happens.

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