Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lent 13: Proliferation

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
Proliferate: \pruh-LIF-uh-rayt\ verb

Meaning: to grow or increase in number rapidly

Example Sentence: "As low rates proliferated, lenders fell over themselves to stuff cash in customers' pockets." (Daniel Gross, Newsweek, August 20/27, 2007)

A nice young man is clearing up the winter mess in the garden. He pops into the kitchen to get instructions this morning, and we chat about how we share our experience as followers of Christ with others.

We hear many “out-there” comments about the search for meaning in Seattle. Without batting an eye, people share how the stars are giving directions (astrology); the universe is blessing with unexpected provisions (New Age); or “I totally believe that because I was raised Catholic, but I also like the Zen feeling of meditation and Hindu philosophy so I’ve added three gods to the altar in my hallway nook” (syncretism).

My experience makes more sense to me than the human scramble of philosophies and religions. I find myself under the watchful eye of a personal God who designed a renewable system of nature in beautiful mathematical and scientific precision. He is Perfection, and we are estranged from him because we do not follow his ways. The debt we owe from our earliest choices is a matter of simple justice: rebellion against God requires punishment, and so our sin requires a penalty.

Being Perfect Love as well as Perfect Justice, God longs for relationship with us and comes to live among us. He satisfies the awful price by taking our debt on himself, Jesus dying in our stead, and releasing us from our burden to the freedom of a relationship with God.

After hearing all the wild and woolly explorations of imagination and self-justification, I’m relieved and at peace. God himself designed the way to reconcile mankind with himself. The good I do is a freely given response to his love, not a desperate hope to tip the scales of justice in my favor (Islam). I’m the luckiest and most secure woman in the world—even as irrational religious beliefs proliferate around me.


God's peace to you today!

*Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. Psalm 117 NIV

*(Jesus) ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second [commandment] is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31 NLT

*(Paul, writing to the church in Rome) "Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God's mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God's mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!" Romans 11:30–33 NLT

*"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 1 Peter 3:12-13 NLT

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