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     This Week's Focus: "Outfoxed"
          Click the link for Luke13:31-35 

 


















 


Dear Friends,

Get out of town, if you know what’s good for you. That’s the message the Pharisees bring to Jesus. Herod, the gangster king, has murdered John the Baptist … and now he’s got his sights on Jesus. But Jesus really does know what is good for him. And more to the point, he knows what’s good for us, too. And he’s not about to dance to the tune of some petty tyrant.

Jesus has his own divine sense of place and of purpose. He knows where he is going. And he knows where he is taking us. His way leads to salvation, but it must pass through Jerusalem on the way to the cross.

Jesus sees right through Herod and dismisses him as that fox. To Jesus, Herod is not a powerful adversary. He is an unrepentant sinner, a Roman puppet, a cunning scavenger, a debauched thief and murderer. He is that fox. But sadly, foxes like Herod are not an endangered species. Legions of them thrive by doing the Devil’s work on earth every day.

Our world is full of foxes. They can smile and flatter as they distract and deceive. They are masters of half-truths and untruths, nimbly turning minor controversy into ugly confrontation…  stealing away reputations and livelihoods, affections and relationships.

To be honest, there is more than a little fox in all of us. We are all sinners. We are capable… and often guilty… of callous indifference, of inflicting pain… of habitually betraying our Christian birthright. But unlike Satan and unlike Herod, we are yet to be judged. We live in the hope of God’s mercy… always accessible, right to our last repentant breath.  

Ben Johnson wrote a ribald comedy about the undoing of Volpone, the Fox. While evil triumphs for five acts, all the miscreants get their comeuppance before the final curtain. But life hardly ever works that way. Sometimes the foxes go from victory to victory and pass away peacefully on satin sheets… while life kicks the virtuous in the teeth over and over. In Christ, we know that the faithful path is rarely the safe one.

So what to do when the fox is plotting or circling or nipping at your heels? Follow Jesus…even unto the cross. The fox may win the day. But eternity belongs to Jesus and those who cleave to him. We have been promised that in him all things work to the good. And while it is often difficult to see that good through bitter disappointment and crushing tragedy, Christ’s love is constant. His saving grace is the most powerful force the world has ever known.

I have seen it power people with disabilities and their families to exemplary lives of compassion and contagious joy. I have seen it in the dedication of families who have suffered job loss, yet remained faithful to their tithes and continued to share from their scarcity with those who have less. I have seen it channel grief for a tragically lost child into a ministry that saved, protected and nurtured hundreds of at-risk children.

To follow Christ is to turn your back on Herod… to take the path of freedom… to live in the joy of liberation. Don’t let guilt and pride get in your way. Don’t get bogged down in good intentions that go nowhere. Don’t get side-tracked by life’s dangerous detours… by pleasure, by power, by revenge.

Say yes to Christ today… one prayer… one kindness… one forgiveness at a time. And before you know it, you’ll be walking stride for stride with the Savior on The Way of Love… sharing in his Passion… triumphing in his Resurrection.

The Way of Love is not a bumper sticker slogan or a sentimental abstraction. It is a real-world response to Christ’s call to discipleship. It is an active ongoing commitment to walk as he walks, to choose as he chooses, to do as he does… to love as he loves.

While his Way of Love is clearly marked, it is not smooth sailing through a fox-free world. In fact, Jesus has told us that his way would be a rough road replete with snares and pitfalls, and more than a few foxes. To follow Jesus actively and faithfully means opening yourself up to be despised and humiliated. It puts you on the sucker list for all the unrepentant foxes of this world. Yet on The Way of Love, you’re in good company… the best there is… with Jesus… and every other fool for Christ who’s bound for glory.

God love you!


 

A Reflection for 
The Second Sunday in Lent
©The Reverend Canon David F. Sellery

 
Copyright © 2019 David Sellery, All rights reserved.


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