Throughout the year, the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for Saturday, March 6th: Exodus 19:16-25; Psalm 19; and Mark 9:2-8. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
The Daily Lectionary asks us to read Psalm 19 four days in a row. The reason is so that we meditate upon its message, not only read its words. The Psalmist reminds us that revelation surrounds us, but we need to be attentive for it to speak to us. The Psalmist reminds us, as well, that what is specifically religious also has a profundity that rises to the surface only after we give it due attention. Simply going through the motions is insufficient.
Faith is the gift from God that allows us to see past the obvious. I have seen only bits and pieces of the Harry Potter series on television, but I do enjoy Platform 9¾. The impenetrable brick pillar is also the portal to a whole other world. Faith is somewhat like this. Read Psalm 19 four days in a row and you’ll see what I mean.
Or, think about Jesus’ Transfiguration. The carpenter from Nazareth with dust on His feet and sweat on His brow walks up a mountain and at its height the carpenter is witnessed in the full glory of Jesus’ hidden divinity.
Why share the account of the Transfiguration at this point in the Gospel, and why at this point in Lent? Because it is essential that we know and mediate upon the truth that the same Jesus of Nazareth, hung from the cross as an insurrectionist, is the Son of God.
A recurring post-resurrection theme is that Jesus is not recognized. How are we sure that the unrecognizable resurrected Saviour is the Jesus who died on the cross? Because Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus-glorified on the mountain of the Transfiguration before Good Friday and again after the resurrection. It is the Transfiguration that connects the seen and unseen Jesus, the crucified Saviour and risen Lord.
Faith is what gives us the chance to see Jesus as so much more than what eyes can see. And Lent gives us the chance to let our eyes adjust to this vision. It gives us the time and the offerings to meditate upon Jesus’ crucifixion and death.
So again this Saturday I invite you to join us as church, to come together as people who are trying to see past the obvious, and to appreciate the mystery and wonder of our God. Tomorrow we will read further in the Sinai story as Moses gives Israel the Ten Commandments, and we will marvel as Jesus grows angry and crashes through the Temple marketplace demanding that people stop using His Father’s house as a money-maker.
And the sermon on these passages will begin where the Psalmist leaves off: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of [our hearts] be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
If you would like to join us to share in God’s holy Word and in Holy Communion, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you the login for the Service of the Third Sunday of Lent.
If you’d like, here is the link to the Massachusetts Conference’s daily reading schedule: www.macucc.org/lectionary.
Faith, love and chitchat.
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