The marvelous, amazing grace of God is the most significant unifying factor within this series of texts selected for us for next Sunday. Psalm 126 In this community lament during a time of depression, suffering, and weeping, there is no reference to the causes of the suffering of the people. All of the emphasis is [...]
The emphasis within most of the texts appointed for next Sunday (Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32) is on turning to God, acknowledging sin, and receiving forgiveness from God. These are basic motifs within our Christian Lenten season. As we utilize these texts, our proclamation and our parenesis should be focused on these [...]
The profound subject of suffering is a factor in each of the texts selected for next Sunday. Perhaps Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) was on target when he reached the conclusion that “to live is to suffer,” that suffering is universal — the first of his Four Noble Truths. At any rate, there are few subjects about which we proclaim our message that hold the attention of the members of the assembled congregations as well as the subject of suffering. If we dare to consider seriously the profound subject of suffering that is present in each of these four texts, we can be assured that those who hear us will be involved with us as we proclaim the Word of God next Sunday.
Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem are prominent in many of these texts selected for Lent 2, Series C. It is in Jerusalem and at its temple that the beauty of the Lord is seen (Psalm 27). Jesus’ death and his departure from the earth will occur in Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35), and Jesus expresses his love for the city and for its people.
Transformation is another theme present in several of these texts. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul proclaims that the Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly body and make it conform to his glorious body. Within the Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 promise and covenant text, Abram was said to have been transformed in a sense as the Lord caused the smoking fire pot and flaming torch to pass between the pieces of Abram’s offering and made the covenant of land and many descendants with him.
A unifying factor present in all four of these texts selected for Lent 1 in Series C is the concept of deliverance. According to Psalm 91, the person who trusts in the Lord will be delivered from all danger. In the Deuteronomy 26 confession of faith it is said that the Lord (the God of our Fathers) heard our voice when we were slaves in Egypt and rescued us. The temptation account in Luke 4:1-13 has Jesus demonstrate that if you worship the Lord your God (as perceived by the Israelites, the Jews, and the early followers of Jesus) and serve only the Lord, you will be delivered from the power of the devil. Finally, in Romans 10:8-13 Paul wrote that if you confess with your lips and believe in your heart that Jesus the Risen Christ is Lord, you will be saved.