[#pictureLent] February 17: SEPARATE

By Tracie Ashley
Killearn United Methodist Church/Children’s Ministry
Tallahassee, FL

First, read Matthew 25:31-40

I have a secret to tell you. I stopped doing my children’s laundry about three years ago and I don’t regret it one bit!

A few years ago my husband and I challenged our 4 children to begin doing this chore for themselves, with careful instructions, of course.  The biggest struggle for them has been the sorting and separating of the clothes. This shirt goes in the darks, these pants go in the lights … but what about the striped blouse that has light AND dark colors? A decision must be made and sometimes those have led to, well, let’s just say, a shirt that is now a different hue than what is was intended to be.

I find making those decisions about my own laundry quite easy. I make a quick judgment and that’s that. But in all honesty, I do this all too easily and too often in life, too. Can you relate? Looking out at the world and making those hasty separations … socio-economic, political, religious, etc. Making assessments of people and categorizing them into what and how we think they should be. And yet, here in today’s reading it is made evident of whose role that is. And it isn’t yours or mine.

During this season of reflection, preparation and prayer I am asking the Lord to make a holy and divine separation within me. I am asking that He show me what needs to be sorted and gotten rid of in my thinking and in how I see and love the world. Will you join me? Will you allow God to reveal and separate and sever anything within that is hindering you from following him at a deeper level? Will you join me in asking the Lord to create:

·         An authentic desire to generously love and care for those who are hungry and thirsty

·         A genuine love for those whom I do not know and are different from me and the heart-hospitality to always be welcoming

·         The desire to offer dignity to all

·         An overwhelming compassion for those that are in desperate need of relationship

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus will do so with great tenderness, mercy, forgiveness and love. For this is who he is, this is what he does and the grace he offers us is all we need. Will you join me?

Prayer: Oh Lord, I ask that you do this mighty and holy task of separating in us what needs to be severed and thrown away. Thank you for your mercy and love and your patience with us. It is our sincere desire to honor you with our lives. Thank you for your grace along the way. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. In what ways do you find yourself judging others?

2. When we are quick to judge others we tend to lift ourselves up in the process. What does this tendency do to our spiritual life? Our relationship with Christ?