Friday of the First Week of Lent

Lectionary: 228

If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. 
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. 

"Love means never having to say you're sorry" Jenny said to Oliver in the 1970 movie, Love Story. The statement has been repeated, disputed and parodied countless times in other films and TV. 

Where I come from love means saying you're sorry often. 

I had a quarrel a few weeks ago with a coworker at the VA hospital and carried a resentment for several days. I was in the right, of course.😇 No one could dispute that.😏 

Fortunately, the Holy Spirit came to my assistance and prompted me to apologize. It was really quite simple. Astonishingly easy, and readily accepted by my friend. Whatever we quarreled about, it could not be as important as our friendship. 

Through the Prophet Ezekiel the Lord asks, "Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?" We might ask ourselves, "Do we derive any pleasure from our quarrels? What is our much vaunted righteousness worth to us?" 

It is worth something; I'll grant that. But set beside those sacred relationships of spouse, children, sibling, colleague, friend and pastor, its importance fades. My married brothers assure me their marriages are far more important than their being right. It's nothing but straw in the wind. 

Even one's enemies deserve a hearing and should be weighed in the balance against one's righteousness -- because it is all too likely -- in fact it's probable! -- that I am wrong. 

Do I really need to be right? Is it worth the price of maintaining a system of enemies? 

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus demanded of a man who accosted him. "No one is good but God alone." If the Son of God has no particular need to be known as good or just, who am I to tie that noose around my neck? 

It's so much easier on the body, mind and soul to approach a loved one and say, "I'm sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?" 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.