Saturday March 5
Boring Conversion - Luke 15:32 (NIV)
“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
When we read the story of the Prodigal Son we may be tempted to view the story with a lens the wider culture has taught us… To be converted is to be dramatically turned from a wild life of sex, drugs and rock n’roll, to a life of prayer, worship and holiness.
There are a couple of problems with this view:
1) no one who is converted dramatically leaves the sinful nature behind, we are simul Justus et peccator-saint and sinner at the same time.
2) Not everyone has made a radical break from a former life, some have grown up in the faith and have only remembered their post-baptismal life, but they are no less converted then someone who formerly lived in a blatantly sinful manner.
Here on the Navajo Nation we have people in both categories, that is people who were once participants in a lifestyle and orientation far away from God, and people who have grown up in the faith and don’t have an exciting conversion story. But what is true here is true everywhere else for people who have what may be termed a “boring conversion” from a human vantage point. The rescue of the ones counted as God’s children through baptism at an early age and grown up in the faith is no less dramatic than those who were on death’s door as a consequence of their actions.
God saved them both!
They were both born into sin and dead in their trespasses (Eph. 2:1) and both had no hope in the world were it not for God’s mercy in Christ. But those who were dead were made alive, and God found the lost.
This is the message for all of us to ponder during our Lenten journey to the cross, whether we remember the specific sins that grieve our consciences, or we remember the sinful nature that we can’t get rid of this side of Heaven; “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:5).
I thank You that You rescued me, a lost sinner. I thank You that You gave Your own dear Son that I would have peace with You. Help me to share this message of healing and peace with those in my family, my work, and my life.
In Jesus’ name Amen.
Vicar Tim Norton - Navajo, New Mexico