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March 14, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Fifteen

Week Three: Mission Field

Reflection for the Week: What encourages me to engage more fully in the mission field?

Author Maxie Dunnam tells the story of the “Unhappy Nun.” It is a tale of a young girl raised in a strict Catholic family who was taught that God was watching her all the time. The intent was to frighten her into good behavior. The result was she grew up unhappy and fearful. That is, until one day she was talking with another nun and shared with her the burden she felt in having God’s eye upon her all the time. The other nun quickly said, “Oh, my sister, you’ve got it wrong. God does see you all of the time, but do you know why? It is because he just can’t take his eye off of you!

The parable of the prodigal son tells of a young man who focused on himself at first. He focused on short term gratification and earthly pleasures until he had squandered the resources his father had given him. It was then that his life became unbearable. Having removed himself far away from his father’s care, he found his life completely wanting. The scripture says that in that moment he “came to himself” and humbly returned to his father. When he returned to his father, it was not to an angry “I told you so” Dad. He returned to a tearful, joy-filled presence of unconditional love.

The Apostle Paul says, “If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:32b. The point being, “God is for us!” Once again, there is nothing of which to be afraid.

I am not sure what it is in the human psyche that tends to fixate on the bad things in life. It certainly doesn’t make life better. What you focus on, and what you fill yourself with, effects who you are and how you live.

The love of God holds us accountable to love one another, but God does so with compassion and grace not anger and vengeance. There is still hatred and evil in the world, but more importantly there is also faith, hope and love. And the greatest of all these is still God’s love.

Prayer: Loving and ever present God, may the strength of your love calm my fears and give me courage. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference