Day 12 of Lent: Not me Lord!

Mark now leaves the Upper Room and records the disciples walking with Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Mount of Olives.  Mark 14: 26-31.  The author has not stopped talking about betrayal.  He tells us about Judas plotting with the chief priests.  He tells us about Jesus warning Judas at supper as they eat.  Jesus continues to predict as they walk, “You will all fall away!”  These words ring through history with a truth we like to deny, as Peter did, in our modern self-centered world.  We try to prevent failure on all fronts of our lives.  We wear masks, invent vaccines, zoom church services, lay out Bible reading strategies, and often surround ourselves with like minded people.  It is possible to become insulated in our daily routines and become spiritually overconfident and lazy.

         Peter sees himself as loyal, brave, and committed so denies the reality that he could fall away.  Not me! Is his cry.  What is the gum, the glue in relationship?  Lent and the Passion story confronts us with the ugly truth that all my piety, all my good intentions, all my beautiful mountain top experiences will not erase my human weaknesses.  What keeps me in relationship with God is not my goodness but his faithfulness.  My life is in God’s hand and he faithfully holds me and reaches out to me, even knowing I am a sinner, even knowing what lies in tomorrow, even knowing I will stumble and fall.  Pretty humbling.

         Like Peter we pledge to be loyal unto death but perhaps our prayer should be, Lord help me be faithful unto death – help.  Are there areas in your life today where you want to be faithful and not fall away?  Perhaps we would be wise today to review our spiritual armor and seek God’s help in using it.  The helmet of salvation protects our thoughts.  The belt of truth helps us be honest and wise.  The breastplate of Christ’s righteousness guards our hearts.  It is not us but he who is righteous!  May we have feet wearing shoes for peace not vengeance.  The shield of faith wards off the darts of lies from the enemy.  And of course we need the sword of the Spirit of God, the word of God, for we are weak.  We will fall away more than once.  There will be dark days.  But Jesus is faithful and walks with us during those dark times.  May we hold on to that truth and know that we can always return for his arms are open and he is praying for us.  Thank you, Lord.

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