Day 4: Wednesday in the First Week of Lent
He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
There is a haunting line at the end of the movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” A squad led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is sent to find private James Ryan, the last surviving brother of four, to send him home from the war. At the end of the movie, after a heroic battle and the loss of all but one in the squad, the dying captain says to private Ryan: “James…earn this. Earn it.” In the final scene, the now elderly veteran stands at the grave of Captain Miller and, turning to his wife, asks if he is a good man. He needs to know if he has been worthy of the sacrifice those men made.
At the beginning of the letter to the believers in Colossae the author writes: “we have not ceased praying for you…that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord.”
What is the shape of a life worthy of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross? What is the shape of a life worthy of the one who offered himself to endure the whip and thorns and nails? What life is worthy of Christ’s desolation and shame?
It is to live not for ourselves “but for him who died and was raised.” It is to live forgiveness as he forgave. It is to live mercy as he lived mercy. It does not mean a life of austere denial, but of hearts turned outward. It is to live compassion. The good life is not what we get, but what we give. It is not how high we rise, but how we lift up others. It is not the pleasure we find, but the joy we live.
in the waters of baptism
you grant us new birth as your sons and daughters.
Keep us this day in your steadfast love
that we may walk the path of love and mercy
that is our true and eternal life.
– A prayer for the first week of Lent
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Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AKrzy%C5%BC_w_lesie_-_Grabarka.jpg By Kornelia Głowacka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 pl (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/pl/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons