March 29, 2010

March 29: Alive in Christ

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By Kevin Gary, assistant professor of secondary education
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Alive in Christ

DEVOTIONAL:
The theme of this week is “Alive in Christ.” I am reminded of second century theologian St. Irenaeus’s saying, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Yet what does it mean to be fully alive? For insight, I often turn to Luke’s story of Martha and Mary welcoming Jesus to their home. Luke suggests that the fullness of life is constituted by both service and prayer. Through service we direct our attention towards welcoming and creating a hospitable place for others. All of Martha’s careful preparations are sacraments of her love and care for Jesus. Yet this service, though essential, may not be enough. In spite of Martha’s service and our good works we can sometimes forget to attend and be present to each other.

Mary, Martha’s sister, embodies this attending and prayerful presence, as she sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to what he had to say. As Simone Weil reminds us, “The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him or her: ‘What are you going through?’ It is a recognition that the sufferer exists, not only as a unit in a collection, or a specimen from the social category labeled ‘unfortunate,’ but as a person, exactly like us, who was one day stamped with a special mark of affliction.”

This kind of attending, Mary reminds us, is nurtured by prayer, by sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to what he has to say. Mary’s example is further magnified by Saint Thérèse of Liseux’s comments on prayer: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy; in a word something noble, something supernatural, which enlarges my soul and unites it to God.” To be alive in Christ is to embrace both trial and joy united in God’s love. May our spirits rise with joyfulness, as we lift up shouts of gratitude to Christ, our reconciler.

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Comments (8)

  1. That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing~

    Jennifer Stutzman March 29, 2010 |
  2. Beautiful thoughts, Kevin, and very well expressed. Thanks for sharing them.

    Richard Aguirre March 29, 2010 |
  3. I just lost a dear friend in death…but my thought on reading is that a person “alive” to the glory of God is true in life and in death as we are joined to the God of the Uniiverse revealed in Jesus Christ!! Thanks for this thoughtful writing.

    Joy Neece-Fors March 29, 2010 |
  4. Simone Weil’s words are powerful.

    Stu Buisch March 29, 2010 |
  5. I felt like he was describing my relationship to God – and to my fellow man. We each have a place at the table, but at the end of time, we will all be ourselves, but He will recognize us as His own.

    Dick

    Richard Humphries March 29, 2010 |
  6. I loved the line: To be alive in Christ is to embrace both trial and joy united in God’s love.
    I just returned form a learning tour of Israel/Palestine, and it definitely challenged me to embrace both trial and joy. May God’s love sustain our brothers and sisters who live with this difficult reality on a daily basis.

    Elsie Rempel March 29, 2010 |
  7. Thank you, Kevin, for reminding us of the need to fully embrace the paradoxes inherent in life and to let God embrace us in all of our experiences.

    Lisa Guedea Carreno March 29, 2010 |
  8. I have appreciated the very insightful thoughts and messages. I have also used some as opening forour sunday school class. Thankyou ,rk

    renetta March 29, 2010 |