Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 31 of Lent :: Where's the Sting?

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
1 Corinthians 15:55

There is a story of an old man who used to meditate early in the morning under a big tree on the bank of the Ganges.

One morning, after he had finished his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the old man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its poisonous tail that his hand become swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.

At that moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted, “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man turned his head, and looking into the stranger’s eyes he had said calmly, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

The image of the crucified Christ comes to mind, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” The scorpion he had tried to save finally killed him. The passerby, who sees him stretched out on the cross and shouts, “Only a madman would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, ungrateful creature,” Jesus answers, “My friend, just because it is fallen mankind’s nature to wound, that does not change My nature (love) to save.”

“At the head of the procession of life,
then, is a thorn-crowned Man,
his pains healing our pains,
his wounds answering our wounds,
his love taking our sin.”
E. Stanley Jones

Reflection: Spend some time thanking Christ for His loving sacrifice for our sins.

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