St Mark’s Lenten Meditations From Our Members

Lent Week 1—Friday

Psalm 40      Genesis 40: 1-23     1 Corinthians 3:16-23                Mark 2:13-22

I have always loved the story in today’s reading from Mark that depicts Jesus sitting and eating with all the “wrong sorts of people” and scandalizing the establishment. It always makes me think of the saying, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” If I look at the church as a gathering of those who have all the answers, who are all perfectly conducting their lives, I can quickly feel out of place, possibly losing hope that this is a place for me with my own flawed and broken life! Jesus isn’t known as the Great Physician for nothing. He came to comfort the broken and broken hearted, to give hope to the suffering, to offer healing to the sick–not to give merit badges to whoever could most accurately recite the law or claim perfect conformity to it. I think this is why I tend to be attracted to the writings of Ann Lamotte–and our own Bishop Owensby–that invite us to share in stories of brokenness and the healing power of grace–rather than more deeply philosophical scriptural nit-picking (which is not to say that we shouldn’t have a healthy conversation with scripture). In the psalm for today, the singer tells us, “I waited patiently upon the Lord; he stooped to me and heard my cry. . . . He put a new song in my mouth. . . . Happy are they who trust in the Lord!” Jesus sees us in all our flawed humanity; he hears our cry and is ready to sit down with us, to invite us to his table, offering healing and balm to our wounded souls.

Leslye Jackson Gilchrist

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