Friday, March 18, 2011

Lent Day 9: The great mercy of the ordinary

Our warm bed and quiet home released me into the day. A leisurely stroll with the dogs, then breakfast, then the weekly scrub of the kitchen, before heading upstairs to study. It's been an ordinary day, so far.

For us, that is. From our safe vantage point, we can follow the news about Libya, Japan, Israel, China, and other parts of the world. Most shocking is watching infrastructures and modern cities disappear into rubble, whether by warfare or a natural disaster. We can build no defenses secure enough to ward off disaster when life turns upside down. In the back of our minds, we also realize that between the headlines, many people groups in turmoil never appear in sanitized spots on the BBC or NPR.

Venturing out onto the streets this morning, I thanked God for the peacefulness of our town. No one shot at me, spat at me, or broke into our house because of my faith in Christ. No earthquake, flood, or fire swept through our neighborhood. I was stunned by the beauty and tranquility of this ordinary day.

I wonder how Jesus felt, walking with his disciples and talking to crowds who came to listen to him. Did he look around in wonder at nice buildings, the markets filled with fruit and meat, the women grinding grain, and the men building homes? Knowing that everything would be devastated and his own life would come to a violent end, did he appreciate each ordinary day as God's mercy?

I like to think he did. There is a sense of gratitude and reflection in the "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name..."

The apostle Peter, suffering many things, chimes in with thankfulness for the greatest mercy of all, which cannot be touched by external traumas: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fadekept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV)

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