Thursday After Ash Wednesday
Today’s readings: Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Titus 1:1-16; John 1:29-34
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession…it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage…” (Deut 7:6-11)
I first heard the adage, “How odd of God to choose the Jews,” from my Jewish philosophy professor (a rabbi) at Indiana University. As a Jewish teacher and theologian, he was acknowledging, himself, that Israel didn’t deserve God’s favor, whether in numbers, faithfulness or character. Our reading proclaims that God chose the Jews, perhaps in spite of themselves, to manifest his great love and desire to free them from slavery in Egypt.
We might say, “how odd of God to choose Peter,” who three times denied the Lord and continually showed himself to be impertinent, difficult and disobedient. And yet, by choosing Peter, the Lord illustrates that God chooses and uses plain, ordinary, sinful persons like Peter—and us!
Every one of us can say, “how odd of God to choose ME!” I am disobedient, I am unloving, I sin against God and neighbor. Still, God chooses you and me! Indeed, God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). St. Paul states that, considering his own weakness as an apostle, yet God manifested his power through him. Choosing imperfect, unrighteous, undeserving people like us ensures that the focus will be on God and his love, mercy and grace—truly his power at work through us! And we can only say, thanks be to God!
Prayer: Lord God, thank you that before I was born, you chose me and appointed me to be your child, reborn now through the death and resurrection of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.
Lenten Response: Have you decided on a Lenten discipline? How about “thankfulness”? Make a list for Lent, adding one thing each day for which you’re thankful!
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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