Most of us do not take criticism well. We get defensive, make excuses, or blame others. Nor do we engage in much self reflection or acknowledgement of our personal failings. A lot of churches have deleted the prayer of confession from their Sunday morning orders of worship because of complaints that “those prayers are too depressing,” or “those things don’t apply to me.”
Epiphany | Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Year A)
Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12); Psalm 112:1-9 (10); 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16); Matthew 5:13-20
The prophet Isaiah lays out what God wants of the creatures made in God's own image. God does not want self-deprivation. God does not want self-flagellation. God does not want us to suffer for the sake of suffering. God created us in love and wants us to live life to the fullest, knowing joy and communion and fulfillment.
Sustainable Lenten disciplines anticipate an Easter in which they will continue. But surely Easter hope is for something more.
by Ted A. SmithFebruary 13, 2013