Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lenten Thoughts, continued

MATTHEW 7:7-12:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets
.”

This New Testament Gospel reading for today reminds us that part of prayer concerns asking and seeking and knocking. But, we must be careful here for it’s far too easy to plug into this TEXT our desire for a new car or the biggest house or the richest neighborhood.

Of course, this is not what is in view.


And, without too much thought, we can easily see through this kind of thought as the American dream dressed in religion’s garb. It’s a message that plays well in the West, but take it to, say, Haiti or the Kibera slum, and all of a sudden you see it for what it is.


But, then, what are we to seek?


Before I get there I would remind us that it certainly is the right time to seek. Lent is the time for seeking the LORD, but we would do well to recall that seeking the LORD comes with a warning --
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near (Is 55:6)...

So, what are we to seek?


I think, in context, we are to ask and seek and knock in order to find God himself (see also Hebrews 11:6b). We must seek the Giver of good gifts (and not the gifts), our Heavenly Father, in whom there is no shadow of turning. We must seek for the Father who gives to us the gift most precious -- His Holy presence found in the Holy Spirit. And it is this seeking and asking and knocking for God (see also Philippians 3:10) that offers us the Lent that ultimately leads to a clean heart.