“He had no right to expect anything other than condemnation. He had denied his Savior three times to save his own neck, and he deserved nothing more than to be cast out.
Instead, he got breakfast. Breakfast, and forgiveness. There between the white-hot memory of two fires, and three denials.”
“Then he handed me a hammer. I was confused when he told me to put the rock on the work bench and hit it. But eventually I realized he was serious and did as I was told, not too hard. After a couple of whacks, the thing cracked, and he gave one more expert tap and the orb cracked open.”
“How many times have I read those words and not remembered the next phrase that follows? Jesus, undergoing one of the most cruel tortures a mind can devise, is not merely announcing his death. He is also expressing his absolute trust in God. ‘Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth.'”
“The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree which we will hear this coming Sunday reminds us of the certainty of that abiding patience and protection that is an intrinsic part of God’s nature. While others might see our failures, pettiness, and flaws, God sees our potential.”
As in this morning’s psalm, humility before the power of creation is an idea that is profoundly expressed by Hokusai’s vision—and it is one that we particularly struggle with, believing as many of us do that creation has been placed into our hands to be disposed of as we wish. Yet the human power to destroy is nothing next to the power of creation.
Lent calls us to attention, astonishment, and witness. Lent calls us to see the potential rather than the dreariness and horror of pandemic and now war, to look for the beauty and unity among ourselves and all God’s sparkling mysterious creation placed here for our support and care. Lent calls us to proclaim, to tell, to be truthful and reliable in our witness to God’s love by embodying God’s love.