promises – a Lenten reflection

Jesus taught his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering…be rejected…and be killed…(then saying) “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8.31, 34)

The Republicans, sweeping last fall’s mid-term elections, claiming both houses of Congress, declared that political gridlock would end.

A promise I found hard to believe.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives, beating by bare hours a partial shutdown deadline of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), settled on a one-week funding extension. The reason DHS is the latest in an interminable rack of political footballs? Immigration reform. The Republicans link DHS money as a prod to force the rollback of President Obama’s November 2014 executive orders that protect millions of undocumented persons from deportation.

Political, partisan gridlock, it seems, remains firmly in place.

In November 2016, America will elect the 45th President. Potential rivals, several Republicans and fewer Democrats, have begun honing their campaign messages and stump speeches, those on-point distillations of the their political platforms, all replete with pledges of better solutions to vexing problems and cures for what ails America and the world.

Promises I find hard to believe.

Jesus, in his campaign proclaiming the near presence of God’s kingdom, promised no ready resolution to every problem, but rather his unconditional engagement with the world and all of its suffering. Jesus is a Messiah without the delusional grandiosity associated with a messiah-complex. Jesus is real. So real that what he says about himself, he applies to those who would come after him. As a follower of Jesus, I have come to know that what he says is true. In this problem-plagued world, all is not right and well. It hasn’t been. It is not. And, I suspect, it ne’er will be. Still, in taking up the cross of service to help assuage the suffering of the world, I have known the grace and mercy of courage and endurance, love and forgiveness unconditioned by any length of time or any depth of need.

His promise I believe.

3 thoughts on “promises – a Lenten reflection

  1. Paul, I thank you for this post. As someone personally affected by this DHS mess (the most positive word I can think of at the moment) I no longer believe anything that’s said about upcoming funding. I left work yesterday not knowing what my day would consist of on Monday. A decision that was not going to be dictated by my own actions, but by actions of men who don’t like each other much acting like children. I have so many friends who are couples who both work for DHS. I can’t imagine what life is like for them.

    Thankfully, everyone I know personally impacted by the actions (or lack therof) on the Hill are also followers of Jesus, and believers. It’s so easy to be negative when so much craziness is going on, but believing in unconditional love, and forgiveness means we can believe that everything is going to be ok. That WE are going to be OK, no matter what – in spite of how little hope there may be at the moment. I have to love and forgive those folks on the Hill, and just in case they don’t hold true to the promises they’ve made regarding next week’s funding vote, I’m lining up additional income, because I not only believe in Jesus, I also believe in myself.


  2. Loretta, know that I’ve been thinking about the unrest re: DHS and you and the many who work and serve in and through DHS. I take to heart your point, your conviction about things being ok, that we’ll be ok (I think of Dame Julian of Norwich’s oft quoted word: All shall be well, all many of things shall be well). Still, I wonder, perhaps, more, believe, that what constitutes “ok” for me may not be what will be. I think and feel the heart of your conviction rests on the acceptance that even if what comes isn’t what we desire, that, too, shall be ok


  3. That’s exactly right Paul!! Whatever happens it’s going to be OK because even if one door closes, my faith says several more will open. Thanks for thinking good thoughts about those impacted, including me!


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