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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Muddy Lives

"There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud."  Jer 38:6

Most of us can imagine giving our lives for good causes or good people. The lives of family members or friends who have been especially loving towards us challenge us to let go of anything that merely protects us from harm in order to reach out for those in grave danger. But thinking about responding to others we don't know or know too well because of their public failures is much more difficult. We are all tempted to echo the saying that '"what goes round comes round," in the hope that our enemies will get their just punishment even though Jesus tells us that judging others should be left to God.

There are other times when, like Jeremiah, we find ourselves up to our neck in mud for acting with justice and purpose for God. Jeremiah is reviled and lowered into a muddy cistern, not because he abandoned the law or God's people, but because he warned them of God's wrath if they did not reform their lives. Surely, Jeremiah thought his life was over and that God had abandoned him as he sank into the muddy cistern, but God had a different plan. Jeremiah would be rescued to prophesy another day by those who recognized their own errors and wanted to return to God's ways.

Jesus challenges us even more than Jeremiah. In his letter to the Romans, St Paul tells us, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:6) Insisting that God wants to find us even when we are stuck in the mud of our own making, Paul helps us enter more deeply into the mystery of God's love. If Jesus is willing to die for all in order that they might know the promise and love of God, can we afford to do less?

Today, do something good for someone who has not earned it.

What are the muddy places from which you hope God will rescue you?

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