Fourth Sunday in Lent - Year C

Joshua 5:9-12 • Psalm 32 • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

It is hard to look at ourselves and to look at others as God does.

From what we read in scriptures we see that God views each of us as a
loved, valued, cherished, forgiven, special Creation.

It is hard to look at ourselves and to look at others as God does.
It's not even just hard to look at ourselves that way - it's hard to
imagine anyone can look at us that way.

Any ideas why that is?

The lectionary this week begins with a reading from Joshua. This
continues to follow the story we have been reading the last few weeks.
Joshua has led the people of Israel across the Jordan in to the
Promised Land that would develop in to the Land of Israel. As they are
settling in to their new home, God says to Joshua "Today I have rolled
away from you the disgrace of Egypt." Suddenly they are truly "in the
land," living on what is produced there with their own hands. They
are living into what had been promised to a previous generation, in
spite of all that had happened to that point.

Wow. That is a lot. There is plenty of disgrace that the people of
Israel built up during their time in (and flight from) Egypt. What do
you think it took for Joshua and the people to really take that in and
appreciate it? To know that their slates were wiped clean and that
God loved them for who they are and not what they have done? Wow.

This really speaks to what it means to be in relationship with
God--honestly living and being in relationship with our Creator.

Next we have the Psalmist showing us another step in this process. He
opens Psalm 32 with "Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered." And then goes on to talk about how he
understood his transgression to be forgiven. The writer says, "I
acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I
will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the guilt
of my sin."

The Psalmist took a chance to see and acknowledge himself as God sees
and knows. Wow. That takes a lot of courage to be that honest. We
aren't often very willing to look at both our flaws and our
perfection. They both seem to cause us to avert our eyes.

In the second letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, we see Paul
addressing this directly. He says, "from now on, we regard no one
from a human point of view...if anyone is in Christ, there is a new
creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new!"
Imagine it...what if we were all able to view ourselves and to view
one another as if we were loved and forgiven Creations of God.

And in Luke we see the classic story of the prodigal son. You all
know the story. Look at the love of this father for his son. He does
not spend a lot of time offering criticism about who his son was, he
rejoices at who his son is in that present moment.


What does it mean to truly look at ourselves and others as the
beautiful, beloved and forgiven creation of God? What is necessary for
you to see others in this way? What is necessary for you to see
yourself in this way? What changes?

Thank you for a stunning, complicated creation.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for loving me in spite of my bumps and warts.
Thank you for creating me so beautifully for this world.
Help me to see with your eyes
myself and those around me.
And help me help others
to see with your eyes as well.
Strengthen me to bear what it is that I see
and move forward toward your Kingdom.

© matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.

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