Reflections on Lessons for Lent 2 B: Hope Against Hope

Lessons for Lent 2 B:

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:23-31; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38

Lord, God, I think about, work for, and set my spirit upon today, and perhaps next year or so. I am human. My vision and my comprehension are limited.

But your Spirit comes to me through the story of Sarah and Abraham, the praises of the Psalmists, the encouragement of the Apostle Paul, and the memory of Jesus’ conversation with his followers.

Your Spirit wants to transform my experience of time. She draws me toward a hope against hope—that takes place not on the lonely atom in space that is me, alone, but operates within a covenanted community.

Lord, you have covenanted me to Sarah and Abraham and the Psalmist of the Poor in the ancient Temple and to Paul, that Volcano of Righteousness, and to the bewildered disciples.

And the center of that Covenant—the axle upon which it turns—is the cross of shame. On that cross dies all my fragile, all-too-human hope. There dies all my hope in rising to the occasion and fulfilling my own dreams for myself. There dies all my plans for success in life. There dies all my puny faith in you.

And on that cross you come to me with your dreams for me, your plans, your faith in me, and your hope against hope. It is good enough for the poor. It is sufficient for me—for covenanted me—not a lonely atom—but part of holy, eternal multitude who accept your invitation to hope against hope.

 

 

 

 

 

About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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