Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Jeremiah 17: 5-10, Psalm 1, Luke 16: 19-31

I am struggling with today’s readings. All three tell us of two kinds of people: the "wicked" who wither, die and go to Hades and the "good" who prosper and are rewarded in heaven. To be among the good one must “trust in the Lord”. Yes, but! ..... I know from experience that people don’t fall neatly into categories of good and evil. I am sometimes wicked and sometimes good.

Furthermore, I believe all human beings are basically good because we are born with “that of God” within - the Divine Indwelling. It is the human condition and our attempts to survive in a harsh world that cause us to “sin”. And I know for sure I cannot will myself to be a better person, much as I desire that.

Given my modern mindset then, what is God saying to me today? The wisdom of Thomas Keating comes to mind. He says we cannot reorient our thoughts and behaviors toward God on our own but we can “change the direction we are looking for happiness.” The human condition predisposes us to seek happiness, but we look for it in all the wrong places - in safety and security, power and control and esteem and affection. Happiness is not to be found in any of these because they are human-made and therefore transient. The place to find lasting happiness is in the Eternal, with God. We cannot change our natures but we can consent to God’s presence and action within and allow Him to show us our innate Goodness.

With 21st century sensibilities intact, I come full circle back to Jeremiah: “Trust in the Lord”.

Susan Clark

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