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Cowering in the brambles

Right about this time in the Easter season, I begin to slip into complacency. The enormity of the resurrection starts to seem “ordinary,” one more thing I take for granted. Yesterday’s readings provide the spiritual equivalent of cold water thrown in my face, which is exactly what I need.

As I read the Acts of the Apostles, I am brought up short by one line, actually one piece of one line: “. . . who was I to be able to hinder God?” This is a beloved pastime of mine, hindering God, or at least trying to. I always think I know better. I tend to plow ahead with abandon, hoping God will catch up and follow along. Instead, I usually end up standing in the middle of nowhere, spiritually speaking, and wondering why I feel so alone. Enter the Shepherd of today’s Gospel.

Jesus keeps trying to gently—and sometimes not so gently—usher me through the gate, even as I look for a chink in the wall where I might slip through or hoist myself over, always attempting to bend God’s will to my own.

I wander, I stray, I beg God to bring me home, even as I hide in fear and shame, cowering in the brambles of everyday life. And still, the Master calls me by name in the darkness, beckoning me to scurry through the gate that leads straight to the place I have been so desperate to find. Who am I to be able to hinder God?

This reflection originally appeared in the April 23, 2018, edition of Give Us This Day, a monthly Scripture publication. For a free sample or to subscribe, click here.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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