the second sunday in lent
the PRAYER. . .
God of the covenant, in the mystery of the cross you promise everlasting life to the world. Gather all peoples into your arms, and shelter us with your mercy, that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus,] “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”
the DEVOTION. . .
It’s such a contradiction. Unimaginable, actually. Surreal. A man enters holy space and, in a matter of minutes, executes fifty people … at a place called – of all things – Christchurch! We watch, listen, read. We struggle to wake ourselves from the nightmare. We’ve done it before. After Mother Emanuel. First. Tree of Life. No doubt, we’ll do it, again. But then, adding insult to injury, we gather, Sunday morning, to hear good news and it, too, is about dying. Some Pharisees warn Jesus, “The Baptizer’s gone; now Herod’s after you.”
But there’s a difference between having life taken away and giving it. Death – in and of itself – has no redeeming value. Being killed, killing, changes nothing. But dying for! Giving life as a ransom! That’s when the world’s turned inside-out! When it’s flipped upside-down! That’s what we worship, Sunday mornings. What we believe in. What we stake our lives on. And that’s what’s made – and continues to make – all the difference! So, for now, says Jesus, I do what I do! Cast out! Cure! But be assured, there will be a Friday unlike any other! And on that day, in that gift – because of that dying – all creation will be born again!
Bob Barndt, pastor