Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you?” Matthew 17:17
Jesus is understandably frustrated with the disciples in this reading. They have tried, and failed, to heal someone. Jesus knows they can do it. But they don’t know they can do it. And so they fail. How often do we sell ourselves short of the tasks before us because we don’t believe we are smart enough, or creative enough, or strong enough?
Every Sunday when the children who are not yet communing receive a blessing, I trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads and speak the blessing – the promise! – from their baptism: Child of God, you are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever!
I want those words to be so ingrained in their heads and hearts that they know and believe them to be true. I wonder what could be accomplished in the world if we truly believed and understood ourselves to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. God is with us!
I love the writing from Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love, because it speaks so powerfully to this fact:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
God has been using broken and imperfect people throughout history to do God’s work. Why shouldn’t God use us in this time and in this place? If God can use a dead man to do God’s work (Lazarus) surely there is hope for us! Peder Eide wrote a wonderful song about the imperfect people that God used which we can read about in the Bible. The song will make you laugh, but it should also make you think. Why not you?
Noah was a drunk man, Abraham an old man, Jacob was a liar man, Leah second best. Jonah should have followed God but ran away instead. Martha was a worrywart, and Lazarus was dead!
As is, as is, He chooses us as His. As His. As His. Infuses us as is, with never ending, love transcending all our weaknesses. No excuses He uses us as is!
Today’s questions from Eric Burtness are:
* Reflect on a time you accomplished something that you weren’t sure you could do. How did it feel? *During this Lenten journey, what might God be calling and empowering you to do?
*Prayer for today:
Mighty and powerful God, forgive me for the times I haven’t done what you have called and empowered me to do. Strengthen my faith and increase myh love for you and others. Guide me to live out my calling each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* “Material from Book of Faith Lenten Journey: Beyond Question by Erick Burtness copyright © Augsburg Fortress. Posted by permission. All rights reserved.”