Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 24th, 2010

Nancy Shirley

School of Nursing
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The readings today present a contrast between the first reading reflecting a steadfast belief and actions congruent with such a belief and gospel where the actions seem incongruent with the claims.  It is clear that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a strong, powerful faith in God.  I wonder if my faith could withstand such a challenge?  We are challenged everyday to walk, not in a furnace, but rather a path that follows the teaching of Jesus.  How often do I allow my feet to wonder off that path and be burned in the process?  In contrast to the steadfast belief evident in the first reading, the crowds in the gospel struggle to understand the words of Jesus in explaining being set free – free from the slavery of sin. They are focused on a fragile earthly freedom. How often do I remain focused on earthly foibles and “forget” the bigger picture?

Both readings presented challenges to me as I ponder my actions – are they always congruent with what I claim to believe and who I claim to be?   I’d love to answer an unequivocal yes – but that would not always be the case – hopefully I’m moving to more yeses than nos.  Perhaps, the best part of having a loving God in my life is the fact that even with such feet of clay; I do always know I’m loved.  I know that sometimes I’m slower to forgive my self than the forgiveness and grace I have from my Father. Yet, I’m always willing to sing “Glory and praise for ever” as I bathe in the abundant blessings in my life.

As you know (since I frequently include a verse or two), I love Christian music.  It has been my very conscious choice to keep my car radio turned to a Christian station.  As my companion on the ride to work and home, I’m filled with wonderful music and lyrics that I not only understand, but can also embrace. The positive, uplifting music fills my car and my soul.  Frequently throughout the day, certain tunes play in my head and I gratefully hum them.  I believe this gives me a much more positive attitude as I reach work and home.  I feel fortified for the day with my morning drive concert and better able to put the day in proper perspective with the drive home concert.  One recent discovery for me is a new arrangement of Amazing Grace.  While any version of Amazing Grace will easily fill my soul with gratitude and my eyes with tears, this particular one goes back to some of John Newton’s original words for the final verse and adds in a refrain throughout the song that fits well with the message in today’s gospel.  I offer this in closing as we prepare for Easter in these last weeks of Lent.  My hope is that you have a similar reaction to mine – each time I hear this I want to throw my arms up high and praise the Lord in humble thanksgiving.

                        My chains are gone,
                        I’ve been set free
                        My God, my Savior has ransomed me
                        And like a flood His mercy reigns
                            Unending love, amazing grace.

Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) – Chris Tomlin

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