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March 30, 2017

Lent 2017: Day Twenty-Seven

Week Four: Allocation of Resources

Reflection for the Week: How can we have courage to be generous even when we think there is not enough?

When you want someone to know who you are, you tell them your name. Our last name tells others what family we belong to. Our middle names are often in honor of another family member or special person as are some first names. Many times the first name is just what is most popular at the time and a favorite of the new mom and dad. In Jesus’ day they did not have first, middle and last names like Henry David Thoreau. A person was usually identified with a father or a region. We hear Jesus referred to in scripture as “Jesus, son of Joseph” and “Jesus of Nazareth.” In all cases though, a name tells us who we are connected to.

To call yourself a Christian is to claim an identity connected to Christ. But if we follow Jesus Christ, why are we called Christians and not Jesusians? The name Jesus was the name given to the man who walked the earth as the son of God. Christ, which means “anointed one” was the title given to the one who would be the messiah and savior of the people. It wasn’t Jesus’ last name.

As Christians then, we are defined by a word that means salvation. What are we saved from? We are saved from an identity that ends in death. Prior to the story of Christ’s death and resurrection our forefathers and mothers defined themselves as alive only in the flesh. Such a definition lead to lives focused on the flesh. Wealth and success were defined by how much land you acquired, how many children you gave birth to, how much money you accumulated. Everyone going after the same things for themselves naturally lead to conflict; battles, wars over issues of resources and wealth. Christians were taught, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:19-20) Wait a minute. Am I talking about then or now?

We need to do more than call ourselves Christians; we need to let the name define our lives. A Christian is not defined by material wealth. A Christian is defined by spiritual truth. We know in the person of Christ that life is not just about being born and accumulating stuff and then dying. We know it is about participating in the mystery of all life everywhere and for all time. In Christ, we live in the reality that life is not limited by this physical plane or finite timelines. For Christians, life is an eternal blessing of living in and living out a relationship with a loving God.

Prayer: Lord let your eternal love live in me today. Amen.

Rev. John Farley
Dean of Cabinet
California-Pacific Conference