Meditation written Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Jim Epps.
If ever there were an example of the spiritual practice of detachment, Jesus was it. In today’s lectionary text, some Pharisees come to advise Jesus that Herod wants to kill him. (Luke 13:31-35) Rather than being afraid as most of us would be, he sends a message back to Herod that he continues to heal the sick and will soon head to Jerusalem because that’s where the prophets are killed. The passage includes that wonderful verse where Jesus compares himself to a mother hen who desires to gather her chicks to protect them. (v. 34b)
Evelyn Underhill describes detachment as “love without claimfulness.” The rich young ruler is an example of the opposite, attachment. He went away sorrowfully because he could not give up his property when Jesus said this was required in order for him to inherit eternal life. We all have things to which we are attached and that’s not all bad. But when what we have—things or people, status or power—separates us from the Holy One and from becoming our best selves, we are too attached. Detachment implies that something must be relinquished. It’s the “dying,” the “being last instead of first” that Jesus spoke about so often.
On this Second Sunday in Lent, Jesus begins to “set his face toward Jerusalem.” Whatever he might have known earlier in his ministry, he seems clear now that he is headed toward the end of his life. And yet, like many martyrs who have come after him, Jesus sees his life permeated by God. His courage comes from his clarity that what he is doing—healing, casting out demons, feeding the hungry, teaching what love really looks like—is Holy work. Necessary work. Life-giving work. As we watch the end of his life play out in the days ahead, may we examine our attachments to see if our love is without claimfulness and our center is a Divine one.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.