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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for February 7, 2013

We post a Forward Day by Day Meditation for every day of the year - and we invite you to consider them and talk about them here. If you'd like to comment, you can log in to Disqus with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account; just click "Login," or the appropriate logo below. Or, you can sign up for a Disqus account; just use the entry form below, or click the "D" logo to start the process. You can find the past week's Meditations in the box at right (or below, for mobile users), or search for previous entries on the Archives page. You can also listen to the Forward Day by Day podcast anywhere you find podcasts!

THURSDAY, February 7

Mark 8:27—9:1. If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves…and follow me.

More than giving up chocolate for Lent, self-denial becomes characteristic of Christ’s followers—even though in certain times and places, clear identification as a Christ-follower could result in death. But for most of us, what might healthy self-denial look like in “everyday life”?

An example: Joan substantially supports the church locally and globally, prays faithfully, and serves the baffled and brokenhearted who demand energy and time. She also gives me an unannounced gift: for thirty-some years, she has listened, taken me seriously. Paying attention, she possesses what hymn writer Anna Waring calls “a heart at leisure from itself.”

Joan shows Jesus to me and to others by listening well. Jesus Christ paid close attention, looked at individuals with compassion, and perceived and attended to their deepest needs, his heart at leisure from itself. Isn't this one aspect of self-denial that every one of us could practice? Unselfish, undistracted listening—a form of generosity!

Setting aside our mental agendas to pay attention to each person we meet is one of the most generous and effective gifts we can give today.

PRAY for the Diocese of Machakos (Kenya)

Ps [70], 71 * 74; Isaiah 55:1-13; Galatians 5:1-15



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