Daily Devotional for July 8
July 8 Luke 23:32-43
"Give us a break! Turn the mighty trick, get yourself down
from here and save us, too! Nothing special for a Messiah; just
use the power for which you are known. There's nothing to
lose in trying. All we'll do here is die. Give us a break!" Words
of bargaining and "realism" from one side of the cross. From
the other, quiet resignation to the justice of his own fate and
an acknowledgement of the injustice of Jesus'. The second thief
displays himself in honesty and humility.
I suspect, however, that most of us would side with the first
thief in pleading for one more chance. After all, what is wrong
with trying to strike a bargain? Such behavior is common in
the face of crisis, certainly in the face of death.
The good news from the cross is that it is in accepting death
that we find life. When we stop our bargaining and simply
accept the inevitable suffering that is part of life, then, paradox-
ically, the gates of paradise open up to us. By embracing rather
than fleeing the reality of death, Christ offers us, as part of
the mystery of life and death, the same experience of resur-
rection of which Christ was assured.
In much of the Western world we strenuously deny the reali-
ty of pain, suffering, and death. We pretend we can bargain
our way out of the inevitable. We search for ways to escape
via drugs or food, sex or power, possessions or prestige -
all because we are not listening to the good news of peace given
to one who was suffering and about to die: "Today you will
be with me in paradise."
Perhaps our most powerful prayer in the face of pain, suffer-
ing, and death is, therefore, not to try to strike a bargain, but
simply to pray, "Jesus, remember me."
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C