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Disgrace transformed.

Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32;

2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3,11-32

LENT IS A time to ponder and receive the new life that God wants to give. All of these readings are about new creation that is both personal and public. "The familiar story of the Prodigal Son concerns the gracious welcome home of a wayward, exploitative son, so that the family can sing and dance and eat in joy (Luke 15:22-24). The son must be willing, but it all depends on the father's readiness to reach beyond propriety to limitless self-giving.

That story, whereby Jesus justifies keeping company with the "unacceptable," is paralleled in the narrative of Israel's entry into the land of promise. The new land of bounty is a gift from God, not unlike the big party given by the father. Such a gift of new land (new creation!) removes the "disgrace" of being slaves in Egypt (Joshua 5:9). The "disgrace" of enslaved Israel is similar to the disgrace of the enslaved son. In both cases, a generous God transforms life.

Psalm 32 is a meditation on the wonder of forgiveness. Without forgiveness there is loss of strength and psychosomatic symptom (32:3-4); after forgiveness, there is gladness and joy (verse 11).

Imagine in Lent that personal disgrace may be transformed! In our national community, the disgrace of slavery, racial, ethnic, and gender brutality, and the violence of war may be transformed into viable life in community. It all turns from God's readiness, the very readiness exhibited in Jesus' life among the socially unwelcome, now welcomed, like the prodigal child, home at last.

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Title Annotation:[MARCH 14 ]
Publication:Sojourners Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2010
Words:270
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