Lenten Meditations: Friday 9 March

Mar 9, 2018 by

Mar 9
am: 107:1-32
pm: 107:33-43
Is 13:2-13 Hebrews 12:1-10 Matthew 20:1-16

FRIDAY OF LENT III –  The 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste, 320

LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: The story of these 40 martyrs unfolds in the city of Sebaste during the reign of Emperor Licinius in 320 A.D. A garrison of Roman soldiers– 40 in number — were stationed in this remote Armenian town. While they were bold, courageous soldiers, they were also devout Christians. Upon hearing of this in Rome, the infuriated Emperor issued an edict, stating that those throughout the Empire who would not worship pagan gods would be tortured and put to death. An additional contingent of soldiers was sent to Sebaste to see exactly where the loyalties of these 40 Christians actually stood.


All forty soldiers refused to reject Christ. A cruel death was planned for them. It was bitterly cold in Sebaste at this time of the year, and they were forced to remove their clothes and stand along the shores of a frozen lake, looking across the waters at the glowing fires of the pagans — where they could go if they would renounce the Lord. Still they refused! As death approached, a band of angels came down from heaven and placed crowns on the heads of these dying saints. It is said that one of the Roman guards was so moved by this glorious sight that he removed his own garments and rushed to die himself at the side of these Christian warriors.


MEDITATION OF THE DAY: It is rare that you hear people of faith say that this Gospel is one of their favorite passages But given the dynamics whereby we have the hiring of the laborers and the instruction about their payment followed by the indignation of the recipients who feel themselves cheated. It could be many of us see aspects of our life and work experiences in this story and are certainly uncomfortable with this. It was seem that Jesus likens “the kingdom of heaven,” or the way things are when God sets the standards, to a situation in which hardworking, reliable people get the short end of the stick. But we know this is a God who does not operate that way

Let’s consider the reality of the times than and now. You can go down to the local home improvement superstore and invariably they are there early as day laborers  with the hope that someone will bring them on for a job. Often the youngest most virile, most in shape are snatched up by landowners. As the day wears on some still linger. Who are they? Are they unwilling to work? Too lazy? Typically, not! In our time not unlike Jesus’ time, the folks left over would weaker, older, ill or perhaps even disabled. A person looking to get cheap labor at a bargain would not see these folks as a bargain. But in this parable, we meet a God who is “just,” whose very being is that of showing special generosity to the least and forgotten. No wonder we get unconformable because this is not our first inclination. While at first pass this story offends our sense of fairness the reality is that we meet again a God who gives and cares in abundance.


PRAYER OF THE DAY:  Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. AMEN


Lenten Discipline  Go out of your way to commit an act of generosity to one who was late to a celebration recently and missed out. Engage in a spirit of inclusion this day with all you work with irrespective of their station at work.


ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others. – St. Augustine

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