“We are prophets of a future (and a past) not our own…” Daily Office Reflection

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March 7th, 2017: Week 1 of Lent

(Psalm 45; Deuteronomy 9:4-12; Hebrews 3:1-11; John 2:13-22)

In reading both the OT and NT readings today, I was struck by the idea of legacy. The Hebrew people were about to step into the land, and were tempted to think it was because of their own work or righteousness rather than God’s grace. The writer of Hebrews wants to convey the importance of Moses and Jesus in the story of God, the former being in the house (or the house) and the latter building the house.

The words of this prayer came to mind immediately. It is a prayer that is attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, though he likely never said it. It was read at a commemoration service by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw. Romero was shot and killed during the civil war in El Salvador while presiding over the mass in a hospital. He was a huge advocate for the poor and pushed for an end to violence in his country. Here is his prayer:

Archbishop Oscar Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way

 It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

We are prophets of a future not our own… And I would add, we are beneficiaries of a past not our own. We can walk into the land because God is the one who is preparing a way for us, even in spite of ourselves.
There is a sense of liberation which can come when we resign ourselves to the fact that our holy obligation is faithfulness in living where we are, when we are.
Were you to come to terms with your limitations today, what would it free you to “do, and do very well?”

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