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40 Days 2019 Week #5

Sunday, April 7

40 Days 2019 Week #5 - Remembering with amazement the grace and mercy we’ve received. - Matthew 13: 53-58

[REFLECTION]

Nazareth was where Jesus grew up with his family. The saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” could be said of Jesus returning to his home town of Nazareth. As was Jesus’ custom, he taught in the synagogue and in Matthew 13, we read that the people were amazed. But quickly their amazement turned to contempt. “Hey who does this guy think he is, we grew up playing soccer with him, he’s not better than we are, we know his family and it’s not like they have their act together. Who does he think he is, God?” Of course I’m paraphrasing with liberties, but the sad part of the story is here is the very one who could heal, impart wisdom and change their lives, yet Matthew records: Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

We have all been taught well, we all know about the Lord, we are all familiar with grace—but is it possible that our familiarity, though maybe it doesn’t breed contempt, may lead to indifference or ingratitude? We can take love, grace and mercy for granted. And we can become familiar with one another in our marriages and our families and our communities—we know one another’s “stuff” and our hearts can forget the wonder and the beauty and the grace that is in each one of us. Jewish theologian and scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel says in a slightly overstated way:

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

During this season, something that we can do to partner with God turning our hearts from stone to flesh is remembering with amazement the grace and mercy we’ve received through Jesus and remembering the people around us are deeply loved children of God.

[STARTER PRAYER]

Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number…I do not ask to see the reason for it all: I ask only to share the wonder of it all.”

[PRACTICE]

Take a few moments each day just to appreciate and take in the beauty in creation.

Reflect on the amazing gift of grace and mercy we’ve been given in Christ Jesus.

Let the people around you know the ways you are thankful for them.