Lenten Meditation 24, March 24

Friday, March 24

Psalm 23
1 Samuel 15:22-31
Ephesians 5:1-9

by Kathleen Eagan

Psalm 23

While waiting in the ER for the results of a head CT to reveal whether I was having another stroke, I asked my friend Eileen to read me the 23rd Psalm. I usually know it by heart, but not that day. Eileen is not religious, or even “spiritual,” but she is tech-savvy and promptly called up the Psalm on her smart phone. She held my hand and read this wonderful, soothing message over and over, and I breathed it in.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me.”

I needed that reminder, that He was with me then, and always, no matter what happened next.

There was no stroke that day, and I have a memory of that psalm reaching my heart that will sustain me forever.

1 Samuel: 22-31

In this passage, Saul repeatedly begs Samuel for his pardon.

This year the bright blue star that I picked from the sanctuary read: “Pardon.” I chuckled deeply when I read that. Forgiveness and pardon are high on my list of “things to work on.” I bear the double burden of deep resentments concerning my childhood, and a large dose of self-criticism for my own mistakes in adulthood. For pardon goes both ways, doesn’t it? We need to experience the healing power of forgiveness of both self and others.

It is difficult to forgive those who harmed us, especially when they do not apologize or even acknowledge the harm done. But it is possible, with God’s grace and our own willingness. With ourselves, I have found that the trick is to realize that our standards are unreasonably high, and must soften to allow our human failings to be accepted and forgiven. We learned through our mistakes, and tried not to repeat them!

The qualities of mercy and compassion are what helped me reach this understanding.

Ephesians 5: 1-9

This chapter begins with the exhortation: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

I love the idea of imitating God, for that is indeed what we do a lot of the time: our most earnest attempts to live our lives with God, for God. Will we succeed? Yes, if we study and remember what those Godly qualities are, and we evaluate our results with mercy and forgiveness. We are imitating, doing our best, and keeping God’s example foremost in our minds as much as possible. Talking to God through prayer and meditation alone and with others will help us hone our efforts to their best outcome.

May I imitate you, Lord, in all that I do, for you have given us so many bright and wonderful teachings to follow that will guide us home to you.