As we walk away from Jerusalem with the Disciples back to Galilee (where it all began and must begin again) I'm posting my Lenten devotionals in reverse. Most of them.
Confronting An Ugly Word
There are plenty of "dirty" words in our society. Most have four letters and are used in a moment of great anguish or surprise. But there is one word that we abhor and we have some great reasons for being cautious about it.
Why is that such a bad word? Well history is awash with places where people have been forced into submission. On a social level society has wrestled with wars and slavery. On a personal level we find oppressive relationships that wreak of ill-placed submission. Christianity itself espouses a freedom from all forms of submission, even submission to death. So we have plenty of precedent to hear submission as an ugly word that cannot be redeemed.
Or can it? Isaiah 50 is about submission, but comes from a very different angle. Forced submission is not acceptable and certainly runs counter to the Gospel. But what if it is offered freely? What if a person can choose to submit, and thus change submission into a positive?
In Isaiah 50 we hear an eloquent support of personal submission, by choice and support by God. I believe it speaks to the exact submission that Christ offered both to God and those who would hurt him as he journeyed to Jerusalem to face hate, fear, death, and oppression. Can we find ourselves with Christ in this journey?
These kinds of issues are best worked out with fear and trembling, great prayer, and insight into God's will.
Today, we have an opportunity to submit of our own choice. We have a chance to (with God's help!) face unafraid the challenges that come with loving as Christ loved. We are not alone - surely we can love as Christ and submit to such a great endeavor.
Gracious Lord, you chose to give yourself wholly for your love.
Help me today to find an alternative to fighting or fleeing.
May submission to your grace and will bring the joy of abundant life.
In my life and in this world.