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Lent and Beyond: Lenten Meditations, continued: Douglas LeBlanc
Prydain ^ | 4/06/2006 | will

Posted on 04/06/2006 7:28:38 PM PDT by sionnsar

Today from Lent and Beyond's Lenten meditations series, we have Too much treasure on Earth, by Douglas LeBlanc. Doug is well-known, in part for his posts on GetReligion and Stand Firm; this post he shares with us for Lent shows us why he is quite highly-regarded.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
Douglas LeBlanc: Too much treasure on Earth
Filed under: General (uncategorized), Lent 2006, Anglican Bloggers Lenten Devotionals — Karen B. @ 5:09 am

This is the thirty-eighth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals by a group of Anglican bloggers and friends. Today’s entry is by Douglas LeBlanc. You can read other entries in the series here.

Too much treasure on Earth

Mark 10:17-31

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark provides a few different examples of what the New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce has called the Hard Sayings of Jesus.

These are two of those hard sayings:

“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

These sayings of Jesus should be hard, at least, for North Americans who remember for even a brief moment how wealthy we are in comparison to the rest of the world.

We all know how to escape any discomfort this passage causes: We reduce the first saying as applying only to the rich young ruler whom Jesus loved. Of course we don’t love our possessions more than we love God. We say this to ourselves so often that we would have trouble hearing God ask us to give away even a fraction of what we hold dear.

As Americans approach the April 15 deadline for filing our federal income taxes, we may feel proud in recalling what we donated to the church during the past year. We may put in an impressive number of hours at a soup kitchen, or in a jail, but it’s impossible to escape the truth. Despite Jesus’ repeated teachings about the dangers of mammon, many of us know deep down that our perceived level of need has indeed expanded with our income or our spacious home.

Let me add here that I’m not using we language to mean “those rich pigs sitting next to me” (which I usually apply to anyone even slightly more comfortable than I am).

I write these words from the safety of Chesterfield, a suburban county southwest of Richmond, Virginia. I am using one of two laptops to read the Scripture, gather comments on it, and put my reflections into this form. When I’m done, I’ll send this article along through a wireless broadband connection.

If I’m bored or distracted, I can click on some favorite music, watch cable TV, or pet one of our three cats. I can read from the hundreds of books throughout the house, or the dozens of magazines that arrive each week.

This passage from Mark need not become a big stick of works righteousness. Indeed, if any of us measure our salvation by how well we live up to Jesus’ call to selflessness, we will quickly see how far short we fall of the Kingdom of God.

What this passage can do, whenever I hear it and open myself to God’s Holy Spirit, is remind me of Jesus’ extravagant demands on my life. This passage reminds me that, if I turn off the noise of a culture that meets my every desire about as fast as I become aware of it, I will hear the lonely cries of living in spiritual poverty. If I listen longer, I will hear the voices of those people sent into my life by God so I may show some small measure of the grace and redemption he has shown to me.

I am thankful the Holy Spirit and the church assured that Scripture included passages such as these. They tell me that I cannot remake Jesus into whatever image best suits me. Across the divide of time, they confront me with the spiritual truth of my life in the 21st century. They bear quiet witness that when I talk about the authority of Scripture, I had better remember how God’s standards are supposed to shape my daily life. They make me newly aware — painfully aware — of just how much I need God’s redeeming love.

Douglas LeBlanc occasionally blogs, when he’s feeling guilty about not blogging, at Stand Firm and GetReligion.

1 posted on 04/06/2006 7:28:39 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Calabash; axegrinder; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; ...
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/06/2006 7:29:17 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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