For 2 April 2020, Sixth Thursday of Lent
Read: Luke 6:37-42
The sun gleamed off the iridescent green of the drake’s head. The sun caught it perfectly to show the full glory of the deep, jewel-toned hue of his plumage. My camera couldn’t do the sight justice. With child-like wonder, I simply watched this beautiful sight being gifted to me in my own backyard! Why was I gifted with this lovely sight first thing this morning? Did God have a purpose with this blessing, or was it a blessing just meant to bring a smile to my face?
The blessings we receive are, sometimes, simply gifts of happiness and joy. In the reading today, Jesus teaches there will be an abundance of blessing in our lives if we do not judge, do not condemn, forgive, and give. Perhaps that’s the blessing of my feathered friends in the backyard; they are a gift meant to bring happiness and joy. I give thanks for that gift. I remind myself of something I say often: We are blessed so that we might be a blessing to others. If God gifts me with simple things which bring me happiness and joy, is it not also right that I share those gifts with others?
The way we share our lives and the blessings we receive is at the heart of what Jesus is trying to teach in Luke 6. A passage from Matthew 6, one we Christians know by heart, illuminates Luke 6. Matthew writes, And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12, NRSV). Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are both reciting scripture and asking God to hold us to a standard we set for ourselves. Isn’t that part of the reaching in Luke: Do not judge, and you will not be judged… (Luke 6:37a, NRSV).
The Mallards which visit each Spring can be seen as blessing or as a problem. You can imagine how messy the yard can become from their seasonal visits. I think the mess is worth it for the simple gift which they are to me. If they didn’t visit each Spring, my life would be less rich and full. The visit of Mallard each Spring isn’t a great and important event. Rather, it’s one of those small parts of the season which have become both comfort and reason for celebration. I see the Mallards as a gift, a blessing, whose purpose for me is nothing more than to bring a smile to my face and a giggle to my heart.
The reading concludes with verses which call us to an honest and humble life. There could be any number of things which are specs and logs in eyes. As I read the text, the unspoken implication is that we all have specs and logs in our eyes. Jesus’ teaching is for us to work on the specs and logs in our own eyes before telling others about theirs. In other words, we are to be grace-full with each other and with our selves. The not judging, not condemning, forgiving, and giving includes with our own selves, too. I need to hear this message and be reminded of God’s blessings in my life; I suspect we all do.
Repeat after me: God’s grace is for me, too. (Repeat three times).
Maybe God blessed me with the beautiful sight of the Mallards this morning simply because I am loved. Maybe that’s the blessing I am to share today.