And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south… From Luke 13:29
This year’s Chicago Marathon was held on a particularly cold Sunday. Nonetheless, runners from everywhere came to test their endurance. I’m not an athlete so I have great respect for these runner’ accomplishments.
The other day, thoughts of marathon runners nudged me out the door for a trek of my own. As I considered what they accomplish over and over again, I pushed myself to walk a bit more briskly and a bit farther. The cool temperatures urged me on as well. Once I established my pace, I attended to the beauty around me. The sky boasted an amazingly deep blue and the trees showed off their vibrant colors. The spraying fountain which I passed near our village hall sparkled in the sunshine like an array of diamonds. “Thank you, for all of this!” I prayed.
You know, marathon runners and I embark upon very different journeys when we head outdoors. While they attend to improving their personal best, I tend to the things outside of me. We each do what is necessary to accomplish our goals. In the end, all concerned feel very good about what we’ve done.
Each of our journeys through this life brings unique demands. All God asks is that we tend to these things as only we can and as best we can. This is all that is asked of any of us.
Gracious God, thank you for your unique call to each of us. May our efforts be a blessing to all whom we meet along the way.
Then Abraham said, “If they will not listen
to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”From Luke 16:19-31
In spite of the snowy forecast and the slick roads, I headed out with a list of errands that could not wait. As I drove along, I admired the beautiful landscape left in the aftermath of our most recent snow. Since childhood, I have delighted in visions of white-blanketed rooftops, sidewalks, trees and cars. Anything that bears winter’s offer of a sparkling new beginning brings a smile to my face. Even the snow-laden dumpster in a parking lot I passed looked promising to me on this particular day.
When my thoughts returned to the tasks at hand, a bit of grumbling made its way out of my mouth. A persistent annoyance crept into my mind and threatened the joy I had found in being outdoors. It occurred to me that, just as every snowfall gives the outdoors a seemingly new beginning, I needed to give myself a new beginning. Some things and some people will never change, so it was up to me to change my responses to them. This revelation indicated to me that this was the perfect time to trade in my grumbling for a prayer and so I did just that.
Dear Jesus, as we walk this Lent together, I will try not to be so unforgiving when others do not live up to my expectations. Rather, I will live up to your expectations by offering a prayer for them rather than a complaint.