March 23rd Lenten Devotion

Aggravated or Amazed?

Mary Austin

Matthew 9:32-34

At a recent church meeting, a longtime member got angry about our church financial situation, and a proposal to generate some funds.  “You haven’t done this and you haven’t done that,” he said accusingly.  In fact, the church had done all of the things on his list, and he just didn’t happen to know about it.

It was a reminder, for me, about communication, going both ways. I could have done a better job sharing the steps the church had taken.  I’m also sure I would have responded more kindly to him if he had asked, instead of telling.  “Have we tried this…?”  He spoke with authority out of ignorance, in the same way that the religious leaders respond to Jesus.  The crowd sees new possibilities in what Jesus is doing, and the religious leaders can only imagine one possible answer for what Jesus is doing.

As we follow Jesus, lots of experiences elude our categories.  We witness healings or changes in people’s spirits that defy explanation.  We see the power of evil defeated by good, and the force for good can be so tiny we imagine it can’t possibly do much.  We can respond with ignorance, or with wonder.  We can assume that if it’s not done the way we would do it, it’s wrong.  Or we can take up the spiritual discipline of being amazed by Jesus all over again.   Awe opens the door to Lent’s gifts.

This Lent, wonderous God, quiet our rational minds, we pray, and open us again to awe.  Teach us to live with questions and to love them as much as we love answers.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.


Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a multi-cultural Presbyterian.  She is the author of meeting God at the Mall.

©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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