getting out the Word

the 4th sunday in lent

the PRAYER …

O God, rich in mercy, by the humiliation of your Son you lifted up this fallen world and rescued us from the hopelessness of death. Lead us into your light, that all our deeds may reflect your love, through 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:]“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

John 3:14-21

the DEVOTION …

According to popular opinion, it’s all about choices. Good choices. Bad choices. Freewill. That’s what we call it. A real master-of-our-fate, captain-of-our-soul, kind of thing. And at the end, when all’s been said and done, we’re rewarded – or punished – based on the decisions we made. Maybe that’s why popular opinion speaks so little about Jesus and even less about the cross. It’s all about us …

Anyway, according to the evangelist, faith isn’t so much about reward and punishment as it is about life and death. Or rather, about death and life. It’s like Lazarus. From Bethany. Mary and Martha’s brother. The one Jesus raises from the dead, at the end of John’s gospel. Left to our own, we’re just like him, metaphorically speaking. Bound with strips of cloth. Face covered. Locked away. That’s what we admit – to god, to ourselves, to the world – every Sunday morning, as we confess our sin. Captive, we say. In bondage. As able to free ourselves, as a corpse is to come back to life. But fortunately, there’s always Christ! To raise us up! To call us out! To set us free! No punishment! No reward! Just life! Unearned! Undeserved! Unending!

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