Readings: Gen 17:3-9; John 8:51-59
Scripture: Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death. (John 8:51)
Reflection: Continuing on yesterday’s theme, Jesus focuses on keeping his word. As a writer, I understand and value the power of words. Written or spoken, carefully crafted or passionately scribbled, the words we humans throw around can move us, scar us, inspire us. Words have weight, even without the power of God behind them. And then we get to the Word, which we recognize, with just the touch of a shift key raising that first letter, to be Logos, God incarnate in the person of Jesus, who has existed for all time since before all time along with the Father and Spirit.
The Word gives us his word and asks us to keep it. How beautiful. Such a gift. How could we possibly say no? But we do, again and again. We say no to the notion of loving others as we love ourselves when it becomes too difficult, no to caring for the poor and hungry when it makes us uncomfortable, no to peace when we want to win an argument or a war, no to turning the other cheek when the world urges us to strike back, no to trusting in God’s plan when it seems to be going in a direction we don’t like. Remaining in Jesus’ word sounds very good on paper, but real life is a different story. Today Jesus gets right to the point: keep his word; never die. Shouldn’t that promise be enough to change our hearts and minds and actions in one fell swoop? What will it take to get it to sink in?
Meditation: In The Cloud of Unknowing, one of the great spiritual classics on prayer, the anonymous author says, “This kingdom of heaven is your heritage, and God asks you to claim it. . . . God waits for your cooperation.” We are told throughout Scripture that eternal life, salvation, the kingdom of heaven are ours for the taking if we but follow the way Jesus sets out for us. All it takes is our cooperation. Today, sit down in prayer and silently reflect on this great mystery. Can you do one thing today to keep Jesus’ word, to cooperate with the divine plan?
Prayer: Jesus, we stand before you today willing but unsure. We are so easily pulled off course by the stresses of this life. We know your word is truth and life. Help us to hold fast to your promises.
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