Third Week in Lent: Let My Life Be Acceptable to You, Oh Lord
Psalm 19; Exodus 20:1-17; John 2:13-22
In this third week of Lent we are blessed by The Word that comes from different times, different lives and different histories giving passionate testimony to the greatness and power of God.
In this Psalm we can feel how great is the glory of God and how great is God’s wisdom as manifested in the creation; we can feel the grandeur and the will of God that pushes us towards the renewal of life, of finding wisdom in the simple, of filling the heart with joy and lighting up our eyes.
Together with the psalmist we reiterate our yearning to live out the will of God:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
The reading of the commandments in Exodus reminds us of the will of God and is a fundamental guide for our relationship with God and with all humanity. For us, Jesus Christ incarnated this will in his life and teachings and so we affirm with him:
“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22: 37 – 39)
The Word that comes from the Biblical text helps us in our reading for our own context. All around us we find the witness of Christians with a profound yearning to really live the Gospel and the will of God.
In this month of March, Women’s History Month, the readings also enlighten us in recognizing The Word in the commitment of millions of Methodist women around the world that have lived and who live constantly seeking personal and social holiness as inseparable parts of a Christian life. Women in local congregations, UMW Circles, Women’s Societies, national and international Women’s Federations; women pastors and lay women, women missionaries and professional women; mothers, women heads of family, young women and elderly women; urban women and rural women, women from the south and from the north; women of all nationalities and all cultures, leaders and followers, all dedicating their lives to proclamation the glory of God.
Through their actions, they are seeking in their personal lives, in their families and in their communities a real renewal of life, seeking joy, seeking hope and seeking life in abundance.
In remembering the great passionate ministry of women, today and in the time of Jesus and throughout history, we appreciate their prophetic role that leads us to proclaim the will of God and to denounce all that which is not acceptable in the eyes of God. In many of these situations this ministry has taken the form of protest and has been considered as scandalous. This takes us again to the biblical text where we learn that Jesus himself took on the dangerous task of challenging and cleaning up systems and practices that were not acceptable in the eyes of God.
The reading from John tells us of the purification of the temple. Jesus interrupts, surprises, disturbs and challenges the practices in the temple in Jerusalem. The House of Prayer had been transformed into a house of commerce, a market for the sale of animals and money changing that devalued the sacrifice and worship; practices that lent to injustice, corruption and abuse. Jesus understood that this was a transgression and just as on other occasions, he dared to confront a religious system maintained by a base of practices contrary to loyalty and love for God and humanity.
In this time of lent, and in every other day of the year, we the disciples of Jesus Christ, together with the psalmist ask, “But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12)
To maintain ourselves loyal to the will of God, we need to continue asking ourselves, our church, our institutions and our society: What practices do we submit to that block the fulfillment of the will of God, what practices separate us from the new life, of joy, of hope and of God’s Reign?
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Amen
I would like to share the following words from a communion song sung in the churches and communities of Latin America.
ZAMBA PARA QUE TE QUEDES
Para que estés siempre en medio nuestro,
para que nos juntes en la comunión.
Para que a pesar de toda la tristeza,
ésta sea una fiesta porque aquí estas tu.
Compartimos la copa y el pan que es amor,
amor bien jugado por vos en la cruz;
celebramos que no hay muerte que pueda atar
a la vida que recibimos de ti.
Padre, te pedimos con todo el pueblo,
por aquel que sufre injusticia y dolor.
Cambia nuestro llanto en alegría,
danos esperanza, ahuyenta el temor.
En el barrio tantas(os) te necesitan,
y quién sabe cuántos en esta ciudad.
Danos la palabra, el gesto, el cariño,
que te muestre simple, así como sos.
Author: Juan A. Gattinoni