Third Sunday during Lent — 24 March 2019 Devotional

Isaiah 55:1-9, Matthew 6:1-15

When one works with the homeless, one learns that the homeless have an amazing network of information. This network includes which ministry provides food on which day. It can include which ministry provides sundries and clothes. Then there are the ministries that provide free clothes cleaning. They are quick to share what will aid one another. Regardless of your perception or feelings regarding ministry to the homeless, their connection to one another cannot be denied. When we set aside our pride and our stuff, Christians more than anyone else ought to be aware that we are truly homeless. This world is not our home.

Just like the homeless who share about the sustaining things around, Isaiah announces God’s mighty grace, mercy, and gifts. Imagine if all of Christ’s followers couldn’t help themselves from sharing this amazing gift that God has given them. We talk about so much that is present in Isaiah’s words: the value (or lack thereof) of money, God’s great food, new covenant, not of this world. Yet, more and more, Christians are really nothing special. Now, that isn’t to say that they aren’t, but that they no longer know that they are. By and large, most people view them as political blocks or hate-filled people. Christians have allowed themselves to become this. We are no longer (by-and-large) Isaiah (or the homeless) saying, “come meet this awesome guy, Jesus!” Because of our career positions or career locations, we are not free to share our faith. We now have to become wiser than serpents to share the Gospel. However, we have to become like Isaiah and believe we have good news to actually share.
The church has come up with many schemes and methods to share the good news.

It is good news, right? Is it, perhaps, time to return to simpler words and ways?

When Jesus provides the template for prayer, it is intended to be an antidote to the excessive prayers of those who made a show of their false piety. Later, it would also serve as a counterpoint to the Roman tendency for long-winded oratories that were so prized by the intellectual culture. The Lord’s Prayer (as we call it now) is so simple that a child can learn (and memorize it). Yet, the depth of the Lord’s Prayer from the holiness of God to our place in God’s kingdom here on earth. The Lord’s Prayer really is the tension between the ideal and our reality. We are often uncomfortable with the tension between the two, yet that is where the energy and ability to call those struggling in this life to the new life offered by new creation in Jesus Christ.

1) Is your life with Christ still an important part of your life that you want and seek to share with others?

2) When was the last time you prayed the Lord’s Prayer? What do you see as its positives and negatives?

3) We talk about inviting people to church. When was the last time you invited a person to a new life with Jesus?