The Good Word for Sunday March 13 ~ for the complete readings click here.
Change. Nobody likes it. Okay, I guess some people like it, but once people get comfortable it is hard to change. My dad has had the same haircut for 50+ years. It’s kind of like behavioral inertia. Once we stop moving or once we get moving it’s hard to start or stop.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written about change. Some explain how we change. Others give steps for organizational change. Still other books are all about how to avoid change.
Even when something is really bad for us, it is hard to stop doing it. Even when something is really good for us, it is hard to start (and keep going). In Lent some of us have given up something or added a new behavior. I bet most of us will fall right back into our old ways after Lent is over no matter how good our Lenten promise has been for us.
That’s why the readings today are so amazing. The first reading references the Exodus out of the slavery of Egypt and into the promised land. But the reading is from Isaiah who is writing many, many years later during the time of the Babylonian exile, when the people of Israel were conquered and moved hundred of miles to Babylon. The people had been freed from the slavery of Egypt, but had fallen away from God and ended right back in slavery to a different master. Change is hard.
In the gospel, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to catch him disagreeing with the law of Moses. Instead, Jesus does some extraordinary; Jesus shows mercy.
He not only shows mercy to the woman, but he using the moment to teach those gathered about who is need of mercy. Who is a sinner? Everyone. Who needs God’s mercy? Everyone. Who needs to change? Everyone.
The thing is when Jesus turns to the woman and tells her to go and sin no more, he is really talking to everyone. When one is shown mercy, the appropriate response is to change. When mercy is given, the one receiving mercy gets a do-over. Wouldn’t it be crazy if someone got a do-over and then did the exact same thing again?
We get a do-over every time God shows us mercy. We get another chance to be better, to do good and avoid evil. We get the chance to change.
If you had a second chance to live your life again, how would you choose to live differently? Do that.
With just two weeks left of Lent, make a plan to make a change following Lent. If you gave up something consider what it might mean to continue to abstain in some way. If you added prayer, think about how you may continue that practice.