Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saving, Remembering, Connecting

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" – Luke 18:13

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 106:24-31; Ruth 4; Luke 23:32-43

Today I'm drawn by the contrast between two voices as Jesus is crucified, in the Luke 23 scene. A mocking voice says, "Save yourself - and us!" A penitent voice says, "Remember me." Both are calling on Jesus to do something. In the end, of course, he does both. He dies, but overcomes death, and saves himself and all the world. He remembers those who have faith in him, re-membering, bringing the power to keep them connected to himself whatever happens, even through and beyond death.

There is a focus today, too, on our own sins and transgressions, shortcomings, times when we have missed the mark. One line in Psalm 106 expresses the sins of Israel like this: "they attached themselves" to false gods. Maybe that's a good way to sum up the concepts of salvation and forgiveness and belonging to Christ. To whom are we attached? To whom do we desire and work to stay connected?

God's love and grace, forgiveness and mercy, life and hope, are gifts of grace. Yet they are gifts that set a path before us, a path of following Christ and staying connected to him. It's possible to stray off the path, forget it, or abandon it entirely. So we give thanks for God who is faithful to us, who saves, and remembers, and stays connected even when we can't.

Thank you for your gifts of life, God. Thank you for the path of repentance and reliance on you. Help us to walk in your footsteps, and receive every good thing you offer, and play our part in witnessing to others to whom you long to connect.

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