Monday, February 8, 2016

Lent 1 C - Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Lent has always been my favorite season of the church year. I attribute it to being fed a steady diet of sad country western songs as a child and having a fondness for hymns in a minor key. Or maybe it was that all the effort put into Lent, the shrouded cross, the purple banners, the symbols of pain and suffering, just made church more interesting. I do know I first came to love Jesus during Lent because the story was so sad and Jesus did it all for me though I’m sure as a child I didn’t understand why. That is what is happening in this text. The giving of first fruits is connected to the story of Israel’s beginning so they will understand why they offer first fruits at all. We were treated harshly in Egypt but God heard our voice and saw our affliction and did something about it and so we do something in return. That distinction, the doing something in response to something , is what makes this a story of grace and not just paying for a piece of property. It is the gift of freedom, a land flowing with milk and honey as opposed to making bricks in a harsh land of bondage, that prompts giving something in return to the gift giver. Like the children of Israel we were in bondage to sin but God heard our voice and saw our affliction and did something about it. So in the giving up or the taking on, the effort we put into Lent, we give something to the gift giver and enter more fully the sad story that in the resurrection has a happy ending.

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