Posted by: jblevins | March 8, 2009

Second Sunday of Lent


Click here to download our reflection for the second Sunday in Lent in PDF form.

Lectionary Text Romans 4:13-25 (NRSV)

For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already* as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith* ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Other Lectionary Readings: Genesis 17:1-17, 15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Mark 8:31-38

Reflection

“For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace”. It is easy to look at the problems existing in Creation today and cry out in despair. More species become extinct and endangered everyday. The warnings from scientists become more and more urgent as the impacts of global climate change continue to multiply. Each day more of our forests are cut down. And everyday millions of people worldwide live without access to clean water. But this passage, reinforced by the Genesis passage telling us of the covenant between God and Abraham, reminds us that by resting in the promise of God, great things can happen. Great transformations can take place.

It is a reminder that it is not about us. It is about allowing God to work through us. Because Abraham had great faith in what God could accomplish through him, nations sprung forth. Lent is about journeying to another promise of God – the promise of renewed relationship with all of Creation. Sallie McFague writes, “The world imagined by our biblical texts is not a fantasy; it is what the Jewish and Christian traditions tell us is God’s will for us and promise to us. The One in whom we live and move and have our being assures us that this other world of appreciation for each and every individual creature living in networks of interrelationship and interdependence.”[1]

That is the promise in which we must have faith. The promise the Lenten season invites us to journey toward. The promise that we can live with right relationship with all of Creation around us – and transform that very Creation into the world God has promised.

Guiding Questions

1. What does this promise mean for you, in your life?

2. Our gospel passage this week reminds us that this won’t be easy – that it will take sacrifice, and picking up our own cross. What does the sacrifice of living into this promise, of having the faith of Abraham, look like?

Daily Actions

Sunday, March 8thSpend some time in reflection with the passages above, and the reflections. Center yourself for the Lenten journey.

Monday, March 9thDouble up journeys: do shopping on your way home from work, school or somewhere else you have to go today. Share rides with friends or try to do all your errands together.

Tuesday, March 10thIncorporate the values of the promise of God to all of Creation into the life of your church. Consider organizing an Earth Day Sunday worship service as a starting point. Click here to download “Celebrating and Caring for God’s Creation”, the 2009 Earth Day resource from the Eco-Justice Program office.

Wednesday, March 11thWhat comes in and out of your home? Reflect on what you have bought and consumed recently and challenge yourself or your consumption habits. Do you need everything you buy? Pray about what you might do to change any bad habits.

Thursday, March 12th Return to the lectionary texts for this week. What new emerges from a second reading of them? Try reading them with a group, seeing what new insights come forth.

Friday, March 13th This is the start of Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC, the theme of which for this year is “Enough for all Creation”. Support the efforts of the folks in DC by encouraging members of your congregation to sign postcards to your Congressional representatives. Click here for more information.

Saturday, March 14th Two of the actions this week have looked at personal actions – how you travel, and what you buy. Consider Jesus message of giving up your life. Click here to measure your ecological footprint, and consider what other sacrifices may be being asked of you.


[1] McFague, Sallie. “Epilogue: Human Dignity and the Integrity of Creation”. Theology That Matters: Ecology, Economy, and God. Darby Kathleen Ray, ed. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2006. Pg. 205

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  1. […] challenged us in the Lenten action for Thursday to think about our consumption habits and what is coming in and out of our home. It is […]


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