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.