LENT 2021 – DAY 2

Deuteronomy 7:6-11
Titus 1:1-16
John 1:29-34

Well, so far so good. This is day 2 of Lent and I am still fulfilling my commitment of writing a reflection each day. Only 38 more days to go.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession. [Deuteronomy 7:6]

So says the Lord God, speaking through Moses, to the people of Israel as they are about to enter the promised land. “You are a people holy to the Lord your God.”

We are often our own worst enemy. We spend a lot of unproductive time in negative self-talk. But we don’t just leave it at disparaging ourselves. We go from there to others, putting down those closest to us and extending on to the rest of humanity.

If you Google “negative self-talk” (what would we do without technology?) you instantaneously get over four-and-a-half MILLION results to the query, most of it giving advice on how to stop it. We began this 40-day exercise yesterday acknowledging that more often than not, we will fail in whatever we pursue.

Rush Limbaugh died yesterday. The larger-than-life talk show host made a career out of spewing insults daily at anyone and everyone. Perhaps you were one of his listeners. I was not.

I was hesitant to make this reference because one should not speak ill of the dead. But in the world of so-called “entertainment,” Limbaugh was king. And the dangerous legacy he left us was minions of imitators that daily expelled slanderous insults at other human beings – human beings created and loved by God. That  toxic residue will be a challenge to overcome.

That is why throughout Scripture, God is constantly reminding us how special we are. We are precious in God’s sight. God’s love for us is far greater than we could ever imagine. Yet for whatever reason, we choose not to believe that. For whatever reason, that message has gotten lost amid the din of today’s noise of the world. We seem to put far greater credence in the empty promises and twisted logic that the world has to offer.  

“You are a people holy to the Lord your God.”

This is essential, creative, identity-forming language of faith. This is the hope for any of us, that we are a people, holy to the Lord.

This language of faith is proclaimed in the cross. If you have any doubts about God’s commitment to you then look at the cross. It is there, on the cross, that  Jesus, the suffering, dying Jesus, gave his own life because of God’s commitment to all of us. Jesus endured the cross because of God’s love for us.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

Carry those words with you today and every day. And pray that those words nourish you and fill us with the power to conquer negativity and work on behalf of God to proclaim God’s message of love in this world.

† † †

Published by pastorallende

Retired Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Social justice and immigration reform advocate. Micah 6:8. Fluent in English and Spanish. I enjoy music and sports.

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