Sunday, February 28, 2010

Competition and Compassion

Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last." Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Luke 13: 30, 34-35

My children, and I think all children, have a competition when taking a car ride. The first who can yell, "shot gun", gets to ride in the front seat. Or so they think. It is very normal for humans to compete, to try to get the best seat and the upper hand. I was at a feeding program that our church participates in. We had food generously donated from a fancy hotel, so we had plenty. And yet there are always those who need to be first, those who think that, if they get to the head of the line they will get the most and the best. We made plates for everyone and still people kept coming. Some of those who were fed first, who had a comfortable seat and were well fed, complained because we were being generous to those who came in late. We humans can exercise our competition and fail to exercise our compassion, even though the world aches for compassion everyday.

When Jesus talks to the religious community, he likens his relationship as mother to small children, a hen wanting to gather her brood. And he sees there competition and their lack of compassion as their inability to be nurtured and gathered together. As what keeps us all apart.

This second Sunday of Lent, I want to focus on the exercise of compassion in my life. I want to be strong and muscular for the love of God and others. I want to nurture and be nurtured, rather than to be the best and always right. I want to stop counting the hurts and insults and start opening my heart to the needs within. May we all increase our compassion this season and reach out in tenderness to our fellow human being.

Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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