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It all started with a ripped bag


Last updated 3/20/2008 at Noon

I have a friend’s Christmas present still residing in the trunk of my car. Yes, I know it’s March. Yes, that makes me a really dysfunctional friend. It’s not that I didn’t buy it on time. It probably was one of the first gifts I bought. And, no, it isn’t because I never see her. The problem with the gift was that it never felt quite good enough to give her – I kept feeling like she deserved more than my budget allowed and somehow I would magically correct the shortage in a few paychecks. So as it waited for that something extra and special, time flew by. Finally, I tucked in an additional gift card, and was shocked to see that after rolling around with groceries and gym shoes, the giant snowman on the bag was decapitated. It looks like it was dragged here from Cincinnati which is the topic of my insomnia this morning... I messed up royally.

It made me think about this pattern of inferiority in gift-giving of myself to the Lord. How many times do we fall short of self-inflicted expectations to avoid sin and the various ways we think it takes to have our act together well enough to have a relationship with God? We slip up, miss church because something comes up, or fall into sin. Our logic for not praying rolls around in our minds like my gift bag in the trunk. Time marches on and the relationship feels torn like that bag.

I believe all God wants of us is to be the gift of who we are. Yes, we’re broken, and yes we are sinful. But as the author Richard Rohr points out: Do you really think Jesus stopped hanging out with sinners because of the resurrection? He still loves us in spite of our sinful nature. I believe all God desires us to do is acknowledge our imperfections, confess them and try to be pleasing to him. That’s what God asked of the Israelites – and what he is asking of us today. To change direction and put our focus where it belongs – on him.

So this is the challenge as we wrap up Lent. Skip the bunny, read your Bible, pray and check out our calendar section with service times and make it a point to put God in the center of Easter – where he belongs. Just as I will sheepishly deliver the Christmas/Easter gift with a big, fat apology, let’s make amends to God for drifting away with heart-felt gratitude for the perfect gift of his Son who shows us the way to eternal life.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23


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