April 5: relationship (Ruth 1-2; Psalm 53, 61; 2 Corinthians 5)

As I complete today’s readings, the word that comes to mind is relationship. I cannot imagine life without relationships, and yet relationships can be our greatest challenge in life. Finding the right relationships, establishing healthy relationships, overcoming dysfunctional relationships, and growing in relationship – especially with God.

In the book of Ruth, we read about the relationship between Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (1:16) In Psalm 61:4, we read of the psalmist’s longing for a relationship with God. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wing.

And then Paul writes: if we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us (5:13-14) The energy to get up and go on as a Christian comes not from a sense of obligation nor a fear of being punished, but from the response of love to the love which has reached out, reached down, and reached me (and you). It may cause us to do things in ways that surprise or even shock other people. That’s relationship!

Today is Maundy Thursday. We remember a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples, offering a new covenant, a new relationship formed out of God’s love for each of us. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ. Relationships are not to be taken for granted but to be embraced and nurtured in love and service.

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