Daily Reflection
March 6th, 2001
Cathy Weiss Pedersen
Campus Ministry
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Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalms 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
Matthew 6:7-15

As I look out my window today, a childhood rhyme comes to mind: “Rain, Rain, Go away; Come again some other day.”  However, at this moment, it is sleet, snow and ice that I’m wishing would go away.  The skies are gray, and the snow/sleet that is on the ground (and continues to fall to the ground) has been with us since Christmas…and we are tired of it! 

So, as I read today’s scriptures from Isaiah, I almost laughed outloud.  Is God gently reminding me that the dreariness that I am experiencing is really a sign from God that we are loved?  As much as we might want to throw the whole ground cover of ice, sleet and snow back up to the heavens and ask God to move on into a more ‘spring’ way of being present to us, the reality is that all this moisture has been a preparation for the very springtime that we are so eagerly (do I hear, ‘desperately’?) awaiting.  In fact, all this cloudiness and wetness is being given to us so that we will work along with the life of creation to bring forth the gift of life and food for ourselves and others.   Isaiah likens the rains and snow to God’s word going forth, not to return empty, but in fullness of God’s reign (presence).

How will this happen in our lives?
Jesus’ followers ask him in today’s gospel, ‘teach us to pray.’   As Christians, we may be very familiar with the words of Jesus’ prayer, but how attentive are we to its meaning?   Jesus first cautions his friends to slow down on the words…God is awaiting our conscious acknowledgement of God’s presence in our lives.   My sense is that we are being invited to approach God as we might approach a friend - a person who is in relationship with us.   Though we may be eager to flood the other with words about our day and our excitement to see them, our real presence to the other is when we are there- to be with/for the other, and to mutually share who we are, listening and being present to what and who the other also is and wants: “Abba God in heaven; holy is your name; may your reign (presence) come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

We are called to acknowledge our need of God’s blessings and presence in our lives as well as our need for sustenance in our journey: “Give us this day our bread…
We long for God’s presence/relationship with us, but also realize that we must respond to others in our lives as God has already embraced us – with forgiveness: “Forgive us our debts as we hereby forgive those who are indebted to us.”

As God’s presence comes to fullness, there may be great struggles in our work for justice on earth to further God’s reign, and we may wish for an easier time of it.  We may ask, “Deliver us from the test and lead us not into temptation.
And yet again, we are reminded that we will be in relationship to God as we relate to others in our lives: “If you forgive the faults of others, God will forgive yours; if you don’t forgive the faults of others, neither will God forgive you.”

How do I live my life in the now?  To what is God calling me?  I cannot simply want God to be in relationship to me as my comforter.  Relationships are mutual and a response to the other is integral to friendship.  How will I work with the gifts, talents and life God has given me to help God’s reign (presence) become more real (full) on earth?  “My word shall not return to me empty…but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the things for which I sent it.” (Is. 55, 11)

Isn’t that what our Lenten journey is about - taking time to listen to God in our lives?  As we work for God’s presence among us, how will that be made real in our lives?  

As God’s presence and love is made known to us in the rains/snow from heaven or in the support of a friend or in the call to justice in our midst, how will we respond?   Will we be ready and willing to bring God’s love/presence to fullness?  Will we take time to listen and discern in prayer…be in relationship to our God so that it will truly be God’s reign (purpose) fulfilled?

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