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Lenten Devotional: Mar 24

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Today’s Texts: Exodus 7:8-24; 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6; Mark 10:1-16

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Jesus (Mark 10:15)

Comparisons to other children are not uncommon in Asian American households: The Sato’s daughter got a scholarship to…  Mrs. Thomas’ son just got engaged to… Mr. Vang’s daughter just gave birth to… Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s son is taking his parents on a vacation to….  Subtly or not so subtly, the bars are set in these updates. The children used for comparisons are chosen for their accomplishments; held up as the standards we should not only aim to achieve but surpass.

Jesus though, through a child comparison, reminds us that in God’s Kingdom the metrics are quite different. God is not waiting to see what we will “grow up to be” before welcoming us. Jesus sees those being kept on the margins; it ignites his indignation. Jesus will not tolerate people being kept away from him. For the smallest and seemingly insignificant (deemed by society), are the inheritors of the kingdom of God. Out of the margins, Jesus brings the least of these into the center of his embrace.

“Do not stop them” – during this Lenten season of preparation, may nothing keep us from entering our Creator’s embrace. And may we likewise, not be found complicit in keeping others away from Christ.  May we shed those things, those worries, and those gods in our lives that would keep us from receiving the gift of Easter like a little child. May we shed and break the cycle of misplaced child comparisons. Rather than rebuking, may we be found in solidarity with those currently kept on the outskirts of the church. Jesus did not offer polite bows, but physically touched the leper, the hemorrhaging woman, the little children.

Lord Jesus – You, who sees injustice, feels indignation, speaks rebuke, and embraces the least of these – prepare our hearts this Lenten season and prepare the way for us to experience your touch anew.

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Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko

Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko is a Yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese-Okinawan American hailing from Chicago. In addition to serving her 11th year on InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Staff (in diverse places from NYC to Wisconsin), she attends McCormick Theological Seminary and serves as an elder at River City Community Church. She is contemplating purchasing her first ever Cornell T-shirt now that her alma mater is in the Sweet 16 (Go Big Red!).

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