Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, April 10, Evening – Palm Sunday
By Suzanne Matheny
Aha! Don’t Neglect the Important Things
Read: Luke 11:42 NLT
[Jesus said,] “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
Here in the season of Lent, a time of deep reflection, it seems that only yesterday we were celebrating Epiphany—that season of the Magi and the “aha!” of life. Have you ever had an “aha!” moment that dramatically changed your thinking or life, as the Magi experienced when they saw that star? Seared into my memory is an “aha!” when, while traveling in Jordan, passing through small villages, seeing crowds of Jordanians going about their lives, I had an intensely emotional realization of how the human Jesus likely looked – dark (olive?) complexion, black hair, dark eyes, all of which also led me to think about his life as a human.
What kind of childhood games did he play? What was he like as a teenager? A young Jewish adult? How did he come to understand his mission? So many unknowns that we wish St. Luke could have shared with us. What we do know, though, is that he grew and transcended race or ethnicity, or any man-made construct. His words and actions teach justice and God’s love for all. Recently, I have experienced some “ahas!” as I have read, listened and understood more clearly how many of our marginalized neighbors have been/are oppressed. I am compelled in this season of Lent to reflect on this and examine my thoughts, actions and also the actions of systems and institutions. Jesus reminds us not to ignore justice and God’s love. The Good News is that in Jesus’s death and resurrection, justice and the love of God are the hope and the light that darkness cannot extinguish, and we disciples are called to shine that light.
Stir us, O Lord, to feel a fresh “Aha!” – every time we see a need for and then find a way to shine the light of justice and the love of God in our world, remembering that “goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, light is stronger than darkness, life is stronger than death, and victory is ours through Him who loves us.” (excerpt from, African Prayer Book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu)