February 26, 2009 - Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 1:20-2:3; St. Mark 1:14-28

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.” (First Article, Apostle’s Creed)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. God made you. He really did. He made you with all your quirks. Your mind that reads and studies--He gave that to you. The things you love about you - He did those. The things you don’t--God gave you those gifts, too.

Now, you do some bad stuff to yourself. Don’t you? In fact, all you ever do to yourself is bad. You do damage to yourself all the time--and I’m not talking about eating too many Mike and Ike’s or drinking too much Diet Coke. Your body is soiled with your sins--the evil thoughts you have, the wretched things you do. You’ve put your body through some things that it wasn’t designed for, haven’t you? Don’t deny it, confess it. The damage you do to yourself has eternal consequences - hell and death.

Remember Ash Wednesday’s Collect? Go back and pray it. What a prayer! The Father hates nothing He created. He should hate you. He should toss you aside. Do you have a reason He shouldn’t?

And don’t think that God is going to save you just because He created you. You aren’t in God’s grace because of something in you. He doesn’t look at you from heaven and say, “I just can’t lose him,” or “She’s got faults and all, but I just have to save her.”

Jesus is the reason God loves you. The Father loves you in the giving of His Son. Jesus’ perfect life for your never perfect life.

Then, God does some more creating in you. He creates in you a contrite heart. That’s a heart that mourns your sins. That bit of Law is God’s work in you too.

Then, there’s God’s Gospel. His full pardon in Christ. No hell for you. No prison. You’ve been pardoned of all your sins.

You are saved from the evil you’ve done. You are rescued from the harm you’ve done to yourself. That hell you deserve? You’ll never see it because the Son of God went through hell so you wouldn’t have to.

Take a moment today and rejoice in what God has done for you. Fast from hating yourself. Stop damaging yourself and others for a moment. Take a second and contemplate this: He made you--even you. He has only one you in all His creation. Before the heavens were, He was planning to have a you. Imagine that! It tickled Him to make you, to form you in your mother’s womb. It made Him giddy to build the world around you just for you.

He made the Lenten smile that you have on your face right now. He did that for you. After all, you are who you are, because He sent Jesus to save you. In the name of Jesus. Amen.