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April 1, 2019, 12:00 AM

My Two Cents


Last week’s lectionary text was Jesus’ story of the Loving Father, also known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Who can forget the last line of that great story which calls us all to the party of forgiveness, where those we thought were dead are alive again, and dad is urging the righteous to let it go and take a turn on the dance floor.

Sometimes those we had given up for dead come wandering back into our fields again. Sometimes the tumor begins to shrink. Sometimes the brakes stop us just before impact.

Other times not. Other times the loss happens. We are devastated and left to scrounge around for the pieces of what formed our lives, like the family returning to the concrete slab where their home used to be, searching for something, anything, that might bring them the comfort of the familiar.

The season of Lent may not be for everyone.  But it is especially designed for anyone who has felt the full force of a loss that feels beyond     redemption. Without saying too soon that everything will be all right, Lent provides the stillness we need to look at those broken pieces that used to fit so well together and begin- just begin- to wonder about how they might be rearranged and put back into a new place.

Having experienced only a small fraction of the loss others around me have endured this year, I am still reminded of the very first steps in that process of piecing things back together. The Bible tells us that after Satan had finished tempting Jesus, the angels came and ministered to him. I think this is what happens with us too.

We may or may not have known someone who has had a miracle cure delivered just in the nick of time. But, I’ll bet we have witnessed the astounding miracle of the power of angels, gathered to offer healing. Some of those angels fly in from across the country at a moment’s    notice. Others spend the whole day before the funeral dinner slaving away in the kitchen. Look at that one angel braving rush hour traffic to    deliver half a dozen meals-for-one to a home still fresh with grief. And I may be mistaken, but I could swear that the room in the restaurant- the one reserved for the grieving family- is somehow filled with so much laughter it’s hard to make yourself heard.

Lent isn’t always sad. But it does take loss seriously. And what it lacks in easy assurances it more than makes up for in faithful angels who hear the call to gather around us, who minister to us and who promise to stay for as long as it takes, maybe even until  the first glimmers of Easter  begin to slice through the darkness.

 

Shalom,

Rick

 


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