Deuteronomy 7:6-11 (ESV) – 6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
Woefully behind… That’s what I am right now.
I set out to write a reflection on 40 different Lenten Scriptures (the readings which came from Presbyterians Today magazine), but right now, I am behind by about a week… It doesn’t feel good to be behind, especially on a commitment you’ve made to yourself as a sign of your spiritual devotion… especially if you call yourself a spiritual leader. I mean, I’m supposed to be above this sort of thing, right?
Of course, that’s wrong, but it doesn’t feel any better.
Anyone who calls themselves a spiritual person, a devotee of any religion, a disciple of any practice has been there. You make a commitment and don’t entirely follow through. You slip. You stumble. You fall. In many other spiritual arenas, this gets you kicked out or religiously flogged. Guilt is the order of the day, but not in Christianity.
In Jesus Christ, we are chosen, not because of the goodness we possess, but simply because God loves us. This was the same basic thought God pronounces to the Israelites in the book of Deuteronomy. God chose them, not because they were so great or powerful, but because they weren’t. But that does not mean we have no responsibility in this relational equation – the Israelites and we too – are called to follow God and cling to his commands.
I could very easily give up this endeavor, but my devotion compels me, however imperfectly, to press on. Thankfully, the love of God is not continent upon my perfection, but upon the perfection given to me in Jesus Christ – yet, I am still called to cling to my devotion and cling to God’s grace.
The cross reminds me of both sides of this relationship, and I pray for the strength to carry on and for joy in the journey.