When we lived in the Washington, DC, area, the National Gallery of Art was a favorite destination. My favorite painting in the National Gallery is “Daniel in the Lion's Den” by Paul Rubens. This painting is gigantic and the lions in the shadows loom large. A print of this painting hangs in my office, a reminder that lions are always present in life, waiting to devour us. Yet it is God who delivers and rescues us from the lion’s mouth.
In the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy, Paul writes: “So I was rescued from the lion's mouth (4:17).” In today's culture, it is a great temptation to deny the existence of lions in our midst. The lions of today, however, are our insatiable desire for more things and our greed for more money. The lions today are an unquenched thirst for power and control. The lions today come in the form of prejudice and bigotry and self-centeredness that focuses on “me, me, me.”
Naming the lions is half the battle. The other half of the battle is won by Jesus Christ, as he places his Cross between us and the lion’s cavernous mouth. Therefore, we shout out, with Paul:
I was rescued from the lion's mouth!
Morning Prayer 8.21.17, An Ordinary Monday
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