Saturday, March 21, 2015

Daily Devotion for Lent 2015, Day 28

Daily Devotion for Lent

Saturday, March 21, 2015, Day 28

Mark 11:12-26 (NRSV)

As we read this particular passage from Mark today, we should especially consider it in light of the Temple's destruction in the year 70 shortly before the Gospel was written.

The fig tree could easily represent the Temple in Jerusalem which should also be "fruitful" but is barren as well.  Jesus cleanses the Temple which should be a haven for all people and yet those seeking to worship find themselves charged more than perhaps these pilgrims could afford.

Ezekiel 47:12 (NRSV) states:

On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.

This is an image of the river flowing from the Temple.  The hunger of the people should be sated spiritually but they go and find it barren.

Then Jesus goes on to share a lesson in faith and moving mountains.

We've all prayed for healing for loved ones who died.  We've done so with strong faith and fervent prayers.  We've done so with dedication and determination.

And so this passage about faith moving mountains sometimes sounds hollow.

I believe that the context is in the rest of the passage when Jesus speaks of forgiveness.
Why try to climb over that mountainous hurt if
it can be removed through forgiveness?

Jesus will seek forgiveness even for those who have wronged him as the suffering servant from Isaiah.  How difficult will this be?

Have you ever had to forgive someone who wronged you?

Has a grudge held against someone ever felt like the weight of a mountain?

Maybe through faith, we can forgive others.  Maybe with God's help, we can throw that mountain into the sea.  When we do this, we bear the fruit that God intends for us.

Prayer based on quotes from Corrie ten Boom:

Glorious God, 
Help me to forgive others as you forgave me.  May I see that forgiveness is an act of the will, and that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.  May I see that forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred.   May it be a power for me that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. Then I shall be truly free.  In Christ's name, Amen.

Prayer based on quotes by Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, whose family died in concentration camps in Germany during WWII after they were found helping Jews to escape.

Picture by By Leon Brooks [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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