Saturday, February 23, 2013
Morning Psalm: 55 | Evening Psalms: 138, 139
Deuteronomy 11:18-28 | Hebrews 5:1-10 | John 4:1-26
In order to have this devotional ready for Lent our deadline for submission was December 21, 2012. My heart and mind was deep into Advent preparing for Christmas, two seasons that I love, and it was difficult to turn my thoughts toward Lent. I have always embraced Lent with mixed emotions because it confronts me with my personal need for repentance and spiritual renewal. It is disconcerting and takes courage for a respected Christian to confront failures and yes, even sins. To capture the true meaning of Lent, one must begin a process of honest self reflection and, if we do not begin the first week of Lent, it becomes easier to continue in a superficial experience.
Today’s Gospel is one of the classic stories of God’s Redemption. It is an important lesson for the Lenten season because it is the very essence of the Gospel of God’s saving Grace! A Samaritan woman lost in her sin, separated from God, encounters Jesus the Christ. In a simple dialogue with Jesus she is confronted with her sins, her sordid past, and her need for salvation. The Good News of this story is that Jesus heals her spiritually and gives her hope of eternal life. Christians over time, if not careful, can become self-righteous and forget that we are all sinners just like the Samaritan woman. We may rationalize and argue that we were never like her, but the reality of the human condition is that we are all sinners in need of God’s redemption and saving grace. Perhaps the most dangerous sin is self-righteousness, because through it we fool ourselves. Lent is the time for honesty with ourselves. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
Father, forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness!
Chaplain Major General John B. Ellington Jr. USAF (RET) (DMin Student)
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