Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 18
Saturday in Second Week of Lent
“The Prodigal, his father, his brother, and us”
Have you ever heard someone say, “I love the God of the New Testament, but not the God of the Old Testament?” The first time I heard that, it caught me off-guard. Because what Testament was Jesus reading to get his radical insights about our God’s compassion and mercy? It’s not like the New Testament was written before Jesus was born, died, or rose from the dead! Rather, I imagine Jesus read passages like today’s Micah reading: “Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression? He does not retain his anger forever because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion upon us. He will tread our iniquities under foot. He wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea,” (Mic 7:18-19). Doesn’t Micah’s God sound very much like the prodigal’s Father in Jesus’ parable (Lk 15:11-32)? Of course he does! It’s the same God! Just like the prodigal’s father, God delights in loving us, forgiving us, and throwing our sins far into the depths of the sea! If you are far from God, know that God loves you and waits for you every day with arms wide open. But what if you’re like the older brother and you’ve always been close to God? It’s time to practice “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Being God’s children is to become like God. And what better way to become like God than to be compassionate and merciful to those we feel least deserve forgiveness? After all, didn’t God in Christ die for us, while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8)?
Grant, most merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.