March 7, 2019
by Tom Drzaic
Creighton University's Department of Human Resources
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 220

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Luke 9:22-25

Praying Lent

First Four Days of Lent - 23 min.
- Text Transcript

Choosing Lent, Acting Lent

Remembering the Ashes

Today’s readings begin with Deuteronomy and Moses offering the people two simple choice, one to follow God’s word and one to “turn away your hearts and not listen”.  The results of these two choices are a long and blessed life and the other leading to curses and death.  This passage immediately took my thoughts to what I hear when I surf the cable channels and stop to hear what one of the prosperity preachers has to say.  It is easy to see why many are seduced by their words, for all you have to do is believe and ask God and you will have all the riches and health you desire, and any generosity you give will be paid back 10-fold.  What a deal and who wouldn’t want that! For that reason it is easy to see why these words are used by prosperity preachers to promise blessings, riches and health to their audience they are trying to build.  Is this what Moses was doing? At face value it may seem so, but when taken into account with the exodus of the Israelites the words to me are much broader in scope.  I sense that Moses is speaking to the whole community and not to each individual, and is telling them that if a long lasting and strong society is to occur, this will happen only by following God’s commandments, and if they are not followed the results will be a weak culture that will eventually wither and die.

Luke then takes this another step farther and with much more clarity tells us that to truly follow God one must “deny himself and take up his cross daily.”  This gives a much richer explanation of what it is to truly follow God, sacrificing one’s own needs and leaving your desires behind for the benefit of others, all with no guarantee of earthly blessing. Quite the contradiction from what is often promoted on the airwaves, but in that calling lays the truth.

So as preparations begin for Lent, it is a good time to take stock of where I am at in following God’s commandments and exploring the reason I strive to obey them.  Am I expecting God to pour Blessings upon me as a reward for my faithful efforts or am I truly giving of myself to serve the Lord out of love without expectations, trusting that God is with me when hardships appear?

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