the fifth sunday in lent
the PRAYER. . .
Creator God, you prepare a new way in the wilderness, and your grace waters our desert. Open our hearts to be transformed by the new thing you are doing, that our lives may proclaim the extravagance of your love given to all through 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. . .
[Jesus said,] “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
the DEVOTION. . .
That’s what happens when you know how the story ends! The unknown becomes familiar! Surprise becomes expectation. And uncertainty? Well, it becomes crystal clear! Jesus says, “You won’t always have me!” And we say, “Naturally!” Jesus says, “Bought for my burial!” And we say, “Of course!” But the story, at this point in time, has no ending! Lazarus was dead but, now, lives! Martha questioned, but, now, serves! Mary mourned and, now, anoints! And none of them knew there would be a cross …
You and I, though? We can’t read the story without one. We can’t look at the bible – Old Testament or New – without seeing one loom large on the horizon. For us, it’s obvious! Plain as the noses on our faces! But for Lazarus and Martha and Mary, even for Judas, they just don’t have a clue. Six days before the Passover.
Six days before the garden and Golgotha and the grave. Six days before their world would come crashing down, forever! Six days – plus three – before another world rise to take its place! And none of them – not one of them – had an inkling …
Bob Barndt, pastor