Five Minutes on Friday #61


‘In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year's income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year's days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.’               [Frederick Beuchner]


“I imagine Lent for you and for me as a great departure from the
greedy, anxious anti-neighborliness of our economy, a great departure from our exclusionary politics that fears the other, a great departure from self-indulgent consumerism that devours creation.”       [Walter Brueggemann]


In every fragment of time, O God, You work Your acts of grace.                  

In every grain of earth, O Christ, You bring Your grace to life.                    

In every breath of every living thing, O Spirit,                                         

You whisper Your grace to our souls.  

Open our eyes, open our ears, and open our hearts…                               

Open the senses of all people to Your ever-present grace:                        

That those who are disillusioned may hope again,                                  

That those who are frightened may trust again,                                       

That those who despair may rejoice again,                                                

That those who grieve and are lost may love again.                                    

And that all creation may be filled again with wonder                                 

at Your gracious glory.   Amen                      (Sacradise website)


BEATITUDES – Matthew 5.7

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.’

Wonderful news for the merciful!  You’ll receive mercy yourselves.

‘The spirit of the age blesses those who think justice is retribution and revenge—Jesus blesses the merciful instead.’      [B. Zahnd]

‘The disciple is a follower of Christ because she has been called and accepted by God.  Having thus received mercy, he becomes in turn a channel to convey mercy to others.  Jesus illustrated this dramatically in his parable of the unforgiving debtor’ (Matthew 18.21-35).    [M. Augsburger]

Mercy means forgiveness, but it is also refers to acts of mercy and care.    Clarence Jordan translates this as, ‘Joyful are those who practice compassion in action, for they will receive God’s compassion.’

At the turn of the century we remember an international movement – Jubilee 2000 - that persuaded rich nations to forgive many of the debts of the fourty poorest nations. – ‘Brothers and sisters of mine’