Friday, March 8th
Throughout the year, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for March 8th: Exodus 6:1-13; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; and Acts 7:35-42. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
Today’s readings allude to the Exodus. This is the journey from Egyptian slavery to the freedom of the Promised Land. It lasted 40 years and this time of wandering became the time of Israel’s formation. The hardships and deprivations were real, but the shared experience united the twelve tribes. Furthermore, whenever they encamped or were on the move, the presence of God was at their center, literally and figuratively. The journey, not the destination, defined the People of God.
The 40 years of the Exodus is a remote standard for Lent’s 40 days. We, likewise, are on a journey. We have been given time to relinquish our spiritual chains and prepare anew for the coming freedom of the Promised Land of Easter. Lent can be a time for our spiritual formation, a time to know Christ better, and to acknowledge His presence at the center of our lives.
It is stated in the Book of Exodus selection for today that God revealed Himself previously, but now He has revealed Himself more personally through the sharing of His holy name, Yahweh, “I Am Who I Am” or even “I Will Be Who I Will Be.” God’s identity is existence itself, or maybe more daringly in the context of the Exodus, it is God’s becoming in His relationship with us.
This idea of a closer, developing relationship with the divine is an important aspect of Lent. We move from formality to relationship. Religion becomes personal. God’s “name” is revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, His "becoming" is incarnate in Jesus. The cross is not only our pass into heaven, but an intensely emotional bond with a Saviour who loves us more than Himself. If Lent accomplishes no more than this move from stagnant formality to the journey of relationship, then Lent will be successful. Most of our journey lies ahead of us. Let’s make the most of it.
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