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March 22, 2021

Lenten Gestures - Inheriting

The idea of an inheritance can be unsettling, especially today with so much talk of self-creation. To inherit something implicates a relationship, a prior claim. The inheritance is dependent on someone else, or else there is nothing to inherit.

Matthew 25:34

"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;"

The idea of an inheritance can be unsettling, especially today with so much talk of self-creation. To inherit something implicates a relationship, a prior claim. The inheritance is dependent on someone else, or else there is nothing to inherit. Inheriting is one of the few things a person does that actually takes the focus off of themselves. ‘I will inherit…” From who? What is theirs for you to inherit?

The inheritance looms large in the life of the inheritor. They can accept or reject their inheritance, but everything is in reaction to it. It’s just reality.

From the time Jesus arrived on the scene, he announced an inheritance that was somehow available to all kinds of different people because of him and his father. The idea of an inheritance from God played a large role in the imagination of people long before Jesus came around, but it was Jesus who brought a new clarity to what inheritances always implicate: From who? What is theirs for you to inherit?

In Mark’s Gospel, we’re told of a man who must have heard about Jesus’s claims, because he found out where Jesus was, ran up to him and fell to his knees in front of Jesus. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The man was not prepared to accept the claim on his life implicated by the inheritance (Jesus would answer a similar question by responding that in order to inherit eternal life you must be “born again”), and so sadly left.

Jesus’ disciples were shocked by this exchange. After the man departed, they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus told them, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

That’s the thing about inheritances: they require a relationship. They require another’s intent. To accept an inheritance is to accept that you are not your own, and to live in the light of that reality. You were made with great intention, to be blessed, “to inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”


Art: Patti Ann Yukawa | digital photograph

Practice: Native Lands

Whose land are you living on? Have you considered the generations of people who came before you?


1 | Text the name of the city/town you live in to (907) 312-5085.

2 | Follow up your inquiry by exploring Native-Land.ca (click here) to learn more about the native peoples of the land you live on.

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