Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:
For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. – Isaiah 54:7
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 105:37-45; Judges 20:1-31; Luke 22:52-62
One of the things I really appreciate about the Christian faith is that it's not about achieving individual exaltation, power, or perfection. It's about staying connected to God in humility, service, and love. Our world is full of ways of life that make demands of us, expect things of us, pay attention only to accomplishments. There's constant stress to measure up and compete.
Certainly it's possible to look at life in the Christian faith the same way, and we make our own misery when we do. But the whole message of the Bible, centered on Jesus, has a different perspective. We are saved by grace through faith. We die to ourselves to find new life in Christ. We give up control and find direction and joy. This is the perspective offered by today's Daily Texts verses - and also by the story of Peter's denial in the Luke 22 reading. Peter gives us an example of losing our way, feeling abandoned and abandoning faith for a moment, failing to let God direct the moment and floundering in self-preservation. And yet, in the long run, this moment makes him stronger. Restored later to his status as someone who does know Jesus, he'll know the meaning of grace and forgiveness, new life from death. He'll be a great witness, not for personal achievement, but for the love and mercy of God in Christ.
God of grace, thank you for loving us no matter what. Forgive us for our failures. And guide us to use those experiences as a way to tell others about your love, helping them to connect with you too.