Fifth Week of Lent
If we have realized anything through this Lenten journey, it’s that we need God. Our culture has so effectively trained us to believe we can handle things on our own that it is the ways of our creator that seem strange. So, it’s this yearly rehearsal of our brokenness and God’s response to our need that is both necessary and welcome.
As we learn to loosen our grip on our lives and trust in God’s steadfast love to lead us, we come face-to-face with who we really are. We begin to live in the new reality of God’s love for us and for creation. We become co-workers with Christ, knowing our place is in co-operation with God, led by God’s Spirit rather than trying to take control. Lent tells us our control leads to death. But God in control gives us new, lasting life.
In the Isaiah passages for this week, we find hopeful words to an exiled people returning home from captivity. Still fresh in their minds are the self-inflicted wounds of relying on human plans of might and power instead of on God’s promise to provide. But the picture Isaiah paints is not one of guilt or regret but of renewal and new things God can do in a people willing to walk in God’s ways. The Psalm echoes the prophet’s vision with hopeful words of restoration, laughter and joy.
Later in the week, we begin to make the connection between God’s restorative actions on behalf of Israel and God’s final restorative action on behalf of all creation. The Exodus passage reminds us of God’s rescue of the Hebrew people through the unblemished sacrifice of the Passover lamb. The Epistle to the Hebrews celebrates that Jesus’s sacrifice restores us to a right relationship with God and provides the environment for a right relationship with others, too.
Finally, our two Gospel lessons help set the stage for Jesus’ passion as we near Palm Sunday and Holy week. In Luke, we find Jesus predicting his death to a clueless group of disciples. His next action is to restore a blind man’s sight because of the man’s faith. It was Mary’s faith that led her to anoint Jesus with burial perfume while Judas’ desire for control, even on behalf of the poor, put his at odds with Jesus.
Grace and peace along the journey,
Fifth Sunday in Lent – March 13
Prepare: Find a place where distractions are minimal. Bring a journal or notepad, pen and Bible with you. Then, take three deep breaths. Straighten your posture. Cup your hands toward the ceiling, as if receiving something from God.
Use a sentence prayer to center you, such as: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, o Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 or “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Read: Isaiah 43:1-7. If time allows, read at least one different translation.
Meditate: What words or phrases strike you? Read them again and pause in silence.
What might God be saying to me through this scripture? Write down anything you sense God might be saying to you.
Pray: Write a one-sentence prayer – your prayer to God – lifting what you have read and what you have listed to God for healing, fullness, and insight.
Response: What am I being called to do as a result of the word I have been given?