Reflection for Friday, January 29, 2010: 3rd week in Ordinary Time.

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Dilly, Barbara
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It is clear from the story of David's adulterous affair with Bathsheba and premeditated murder of her husband Uriah that David was a practiced sinner. He didn't just "mess up" every now and then; he used his power over other people to get what he wanted. It doesn't get much worse. But God used him to further the Kingdom of God anyway. So does that let him off the hook for his sins? Does it let any of us off the hook? Yes and No.||The lessons for today remind me of the constant feelings of guilt and frustration most of us feel about our sinful natures. The Psalm for today is an oft prayed prayer for mercy. Most of us recognize that our sin is always before us. And we know that God always sees it and that we deserve to be punished for it. But we believe that we don't have to settle for that kind of relationship with God. We can ask for mercy. God will blot out all of our guilt. Wow! What kind of God is that?|Our human condition has trouble grasping the nature of a God that knows all of our sins from the day we are born, but who can just turn his face away from our evil and in great compassion cleanse us from our offenses. Jesus gives us some insight into that God and His Kingdom. Jesus says that we don't know how seeds sprout, grow, and yield fruit but they do. The potential is all in the earth and in the seeds. It is not because of the labor of the man who scatters the seeds. Even a small mustard seed can become a great plant. The Kingdom of God is like that. It is the place where miraculous things happen without our knowledge or intervention because God makes it happen.|When we reflect on this parable, it is easy to see how God used David to further the Kingdom of God. It wasn't about who David was, it was about God. David was a very powerful leader, but he was terribly humanly flawed. That didn't stop God from working through him the same way God works through a tiny mustard seed, and through us. Our sins do not stop God from working through us. God has great compassion on us when we acknowledge our offenses and call for mercy. God forgives us so we can move on.|I experience this gift of grace from the Lutheran tradition. When Martin Luther taught us to "Sin Boldly" he was not saying that we should go around doing whatever we want to do without any conscience. He was telling us to not be afraid to live fully in the Kingdom of God for fear that we might sin. We are going to sin. We can't help ourselves. What we must do is acknowledge that much of what we do in our daily life is offensive to God, ask for forgiveness, and then be open to letting God work through us. That requires a lot of faith. Most of the Lutherans I know still have a lot of trouble trusting God. We would rather be in denial about how serious are our sins and try to control our little worlds than just face up to what a mess we are and let God work with us in a life much more engaged in furthering the Kingdom of God.|So today I pray for myself and Christians of all faiths who have difficulty trusting in God’s grace. I pray that we can more fully learn just “how it is with the Kingdom of God” by drawing on God’s goodness and compassion. I pray that we can more fully embrace life by letting God work through us. Amen.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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