|ps from ps… Jesus shared the “plan” with the disciples that he’d be betrayed, handed over and killed. And Peter was not a fan. He pulled Jesus aside and said: “Dude, let’s not do that! That’s crazy talk! There’s got to be another way.” – Mark 8, Biegner Translation|
There’s got to be another way. If I’ve said that to God once, I’ve said it a million times. My plan. My timing. Less struggle. More glory. Less pain. More easy street.
Occasionally I pull God over, pull God aside and explain to the Creator of the Universe and US Postal System and the rover that just landed on Mars and the plastic thing at the end of your shoelace that keeps the lace from unraveling, I’ve got a better idea.
I deserve to be put in timeout for the number of times I’ve done this.
What’s incredible about Jesus’ response to Peter’s selfishness (and mine) is this: he invites him to come even closer. He doesn’t push him away. Jesus replies: “Get behind me Satan.” The words really can be translated “follow me.” Watch me. Emulate me. Learn from me. Take notes and watch what God’s up to! He even invites him to drop that selfishness/poor thinking/evil dwelling action and instead – pick up his cross. Pick up his sacrifice, instead of his selfishness.
Today my friend, you and I play the role of Peter. Probably still sharing words similar to his at times. Probably still trying to pull Jesus aside. And yet, Jesus continue to pull us closer. Nearer. To watch. Learn. Listen. And have an opportunity to drop some of the stuff that’s getting in the way, only to pick up God sacrificial love in its place.
May your Lenten time of Restoration, bring you closer to Jesus to watch, learn, listen to and follow that incredible grace.
Lord, help me listen. Help me follow. Amen
Still in One Peace,
“You’re making progress”
My Coach said that to me yesterday while we were out on a run together. “You’re making progress,” he said. Except it didn’t feel that way. I didn’t really want to be running. It was cold and I didn’t have enough layers on. I wasn’t holding the pace I had hoped for. My mind was fairly distracted and I wasn’t very present while I was running. About the only thing I seemed to be accomplishing was moving forward.
So it didn’t feel much like progress. It felt like back tracking on most levels.
“You’re making progress,” he said over and over as we spent the 40 minutes together. Toward the end of the journey, he unpacked the depth of “progress” for me. See he was using the second definition of the word: “to advance or develop toward a more complete condition.” Progress isn’t perfection. It’s simply movement toward a more complete condition. Progress was happening, even while the run wasn’t perfect. I made progress as I started the run. I made progress that I didn’t stop the run when I was cold. I made progress that continued the run despite the distractions, poor form and slower pace. And maybe the time that I made the most progress was when I recognized that even negatives and imperfections of the run itself were still helping me to make progress.
Lent begins today. A 40-day run for Christians. And Jesus says the same words to us: “You’re making progress.” We hear in Scripture “return to the Lord your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Those words are spoken to every imperfect runner, who is actually still making progress. Those words are spoken to every imperfect Christian, who is actually still making progress. Attempting to advance or develop toward a more complete condition. Returning to God.
Lent is our run together. Lent is our time set our hearts and minds on making progress. On running with and toward the Lord of grace and mercy. It’s another starting line. It’s another imperfect journey with an imperfect runners that, no matter what happens, brings us toward a more complete condition.
Your Lent doesn’t have to be perfect. And yet it is still a gift. A chance. A start. An opportunity to be present. It is an invitation to return. As we move into it, open to all that will and can happen, no matter what the results, we will notice that we are indeed making progress.
Lord, here we go. Let’s make progress. Amen
Still in One Peace,
Reminder: St. Paul’s Daily Devotionals for Lent (written by Mary Wolf) can be found at stpaulseggertsville.org