Tuesday, April 5, 2011
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ps 23 The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
During the Season of Lent the church invites us to rediscover the traditional devotions that are meant to prepare us for the Easter Joy.
One of these devotion is "The Way of the Cross." Every Friday during Lent, we offer the opportunity for the faithful to step in line with Christ and follow in his footsteps, those 14 station to calvary.
Now many people in our society find the stations to be outdated, old fashion or just simply lacking the necessary punch to get them invigorated i their faith. I find this tragic.
How often i wonder what our society would look like if we as church would make the "Way of the Cross" weekly, not just during Lent but every week of the year. How different would we be if we time to follow those 14 stations and prayerfully allowed them ot penetrate our hearts.
We will come back to the stations in a minute.
Now go to the first reading of Sunday. We encounter Samuel on a mission. God has sent him to anoint the next King. The old king has lost his favor with God. Saul was a disappointment or as my nephew would say, "failure." So God decided to choose a another lineage to build this dynasty, this kingdom.
Samuel is sent to the house of Jesse and is told to wait for God would reveal who would be the next King. There Samuel wait with the horn of oil in his hand just waiting for the clue.
In walk's Jesse's oldest Son and Samuel instantly assumes this must be the one. This Son had everything you would want in a king. He was tall and strong and charismatic. Samuel thought for sure this one would win the people over.
Ready jump the Gone and let the oil flow, Samuel hears the voice of God speak those famous words, "not as man sees does God sees; man looks at the appearance and the Lord looks into the heart."
God basically is telling Samuel that it isn't by the standard of man that the king will be chosen. Saul was the people's choice. He was what every wanted. So God let the people have their way and it turned into failure. God was simply reminding Samuel that the people's standard isn't always the best standard.
"Not as man sees does God sees..."
How often do we want God to operate according to our standard. How often do our expectations of how God should act, when God should act, what God should do when he acts interferes with our ability to hear God's call and respond appropriately. HOw often are we like Samuel ready to jump the gun!
Not as man sees does God sees. How often is the man that sees incorrectly you and I.
This is where the stations of the Cross come in. We need our standard to be purified. We need our expectations to be measured by God's way of seeing and acting.
In the way of the cross as we journey with Christ those 14 stations we are in fact invited to see as God sees; we are invited to enter and embrace God's vision. Our blindness is challenged every step of the way. With each step we take our limited vision is stretched to new horizons.
In Christ, we come to face to face with the reality that this one who carries the cross, who is beaten and battered, who falls time and time again, who is stripped, nailed, and dies is not just a man, not just a prophet, but is the son of God.
Here in this disfigured face with the crown of thorns is the one who reveals what the mighty works of God look like.
Isn't that what we seek, what we desire to experience. Do we not want to see more clearly, understand more deeply, and embrace more fully the mighty works of God.
In the stations we come face to face with the mighty work of God in the flesh, God made man.
The love of God in Christ Jesus is the climax of God's way of acting in history, in time.
Does this not shattered our standard, shred our expectations?
What do we experience in the way of the Cross? We experience pain, suffering, loss, forsaken-ness, abandonment, grief, hurt, brokenness and weakness.
Is this not what we seek to avid in life. Yet, this is exactly what god seeks to fill with his presence.
What we seek to avoid God comes to fill. Our standard is purified by the standard of God revealed in the face of Christ disfigured and scarred by the way of the cross.
Should we not have the courage to follow in the footsteps of Christ lest we forget what God's vision entails, lest we forget what love looks like, lest we forget what love can do.
In the stations we experience God's visions. We see as God sees, we judge as God judges, we love as God loves.
In the end the blind man of the gospel doesn't worship God because he is able to see; he worships God because he realizes for the first time that God sees. God sees differently then the scribes and the pharisees. God's visions and judgment is not limited
but rather knows no bounds. God sees differently.
Road to calvary unveils the beauty and strength of God's vision made visible.
The way of cross checks our standard and purifies it and thus prepares us for the journey ahead. As we draw closer to calvary we see God's vision complete.