Lenten Devotional for Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?” – Mark 12:10-11

It is easy to see that we are in the final week of Lent, as the readings have taken a decidedly dark turn, especially this day before Maundy Thursday.  The Old Testament reading comes from Lamentations, a book appropriately named for the cries of anguish found within, while the passage from 2 Corinthians shows Paul describing pain he might have caused and pain he has felt.  Even the gospel passage tells the parable of the tenants, those who killed the prophets God sent, even going so far as to prophesy the death of Jesus at their hands.  This week we focus on our failings even more than in previous weeks.

One failing all of these passages seem to have in common is the lack of ability to see, especially to see something very important.  In the Lamentations passage, the writer is crying out about the loss of Jerusalem, though he seems to be putting the blame on God, not on the Israelites who turned from God.  In the same way, we often try to ignore when we are the ones at fault, when we are the ones who have caused our own suffering.  2 Corinthians talks about a struggle Paul is having with the Corinthians, leading him not to visit them another time, knowing that will only cause more pain. The relationship has suffered, much in the way that we allow our relationships to suffer, whether from obvious differences or, more often today, from neglect.

The passage from Mark shows this lack of sight more clearly than the others, as the tenants in the parable do not recognize the salvation that can come from the messengers or from the son.  In the same way, we know that many of those listening to the parable do not recognize the salvation that stands in front of them.  It is easy for us to look back on the Jewish leaders or even the disciples and wonder how they could be so dense as to not see what Jesus really was, but we miss such moments every day, as well.  We fail to see Jesus in the young woman who scans our groceries or in the waiter who forgets to bring our bread at dinner.  We do not see Jesus in the man asking for money on the side of the road or the woman on the bus behind us who smells of body odor.  Jesus is all around us, yet we, like the Israelites, the Jewish leaders, and the Corinthians fail to see him.

God, help us see you when you hide in plain sight, when you stand right in front of us, behind us, beside us.  Help us open our eyes and see the salvation we have blinded ourselves to.  Amen.

Kevin Brown

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