Lenten Meditations: Saturday 17 February

Feb 17, 2018 by

Feb 17
am: 30, 32
pm: 42, 43
 Ecc 4. 20-28 2 Tim 4. 1-8  John 12. 24-32

SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY – Blessed Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

LITURGICAL FEAST OF THE DAY: Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda. His childhood and youth were spent as a goat herder, but he quickly showed an ability to learn and absorb knowledge when given the opportunity. Soon after he became a teacher, he was converted to Christianity and was eventually ordained in 1956, becoming Bishop of Northern Uganda in 1969 and Archbishop of Uganda in 1974. Idi Amin had come to power in Uganda in 1971 as the result of a military coup and his undemocratic and harsh rule was the subject of much criticism by the Church and others. After receiving a letter from the bishops protesting at the virtual institution of state murder, Janani and two of Amin’s own government ministers were stated as having been found dead following a car accident. It emerged quickly that they had in fact died on the implicit instructions of the President. Janani’s enthusiasm for the good news of Jesus, combined with his willingness to sacrifice even his own life for what he believed in, led him to his martyrdom on this day in 1977.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY: I wonder how many times the sainted Archbishop and Martyr Janani Luwum prayed this Psalm. All indicators are that he indeed did “Hope in God; and praise him.” Not only did he “Hope in God” but he waited expectantly on him in this most difficult of circumstances. The Holy Spirit spoke boldly in this Psalm to the archbishop to patiently wait, knowing a final resolution to the difficulty with the dictator Amin will come and God will be the victor.

The Psalm and his life reminds us of the power and meaning of Christian hope: namely waiting for God’s certain salvation. It is different from all our earthly hopes. The things in this world I hope for have no basis in what is good and holy or even possible or certain. For most of us they are at best wishes and fantasies for a season at best. When you consider the water brook that quenches and restores we know that Christian hope is certain in its grace. The Psalmist wants his face to be before God’s face. A desire we all should have. No doubt one that the Archbishop had as his encounter with God was personal, tangible and so powerful that he had to be martyred,

PRAYER OF THE DAY: O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give you thanks for your faithful shepherd, Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ; who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen!

Lenten DisciplineGet 2 sheets of paper and a pen, on one, write your behaviors, habits and choices that have been authentic and life-giving, and, on another, those that have duplicitous and deprived you or others of life. Make a plan with a spiritual partner and the Lord to root out just one of those that are from the spirit of death.

ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE:  “ The fearful danger of the present time is that above the cry for authority, we forget that man stands alone before the ultimate authority, and that anyone who lays violent hands on man here, is infringing eternal laws, and taking upon himself superhuman authority, which will eventually crush him”- –Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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