Monday, March 18, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 34: March 18

Monday, March 18, 2013: Unburdened 

Isaiah 43: 16-21 Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. 

There’s a story about a pair of monks who were traveling together when they came upon a woman standing by a stream. The stream was swollen by spring rains, making the current too swift for the woman to cross. She asked if they would carry her across to the other side. 

The first monk scoffed at her saying, “Stupid woman, we are holy men. Don’t you know we have taken a vow to never touch a woman? We will not help you.” 

But the second monk knelt down, put woman on his back, and carried her across the stream. As he placed her safely on the other bank, she thanked him, and went on her way. 

As they continued walking, the monk who had refused to aid the woman was fuming, thinking to himself, “How could he do that? He touched a woman. He’s broken a sacred vow and carried that woman on his back.” He became more and more upset, outraged by his friend’s actions. 
The second monk, sensing his brother’s agitation, asked what was bothering him. 

“You broke a vow,” he shouted. “You touched a woman. How could you carry her across the river?” 
“Brother,” the monk gently said. “I put the woman down at the river’s edge. You have been carrying her ever since.” 

When we dwell too much on past hurts or affronts, we become blind, unable to see the new things God is doing. If we carry the baggage of self-righteousness and ego, our hands are closed and we are unable to be part of God’s healing of a hurting world. 

Prayer: Lord, help us to unburden ourselves, to put down what prevents us from participating fully in your new work. Free us so that we may take part in Your work with glad spirits, joyful hearts and open hands. 

Rev. Martha Taylor, Field Coordinator, Arkansas Conference 

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