Among the most
stimulating books I've read recently is Samuel Wells's Be Not Afraid, from which I picked up the phrase repeated several
times in my current lectionary columns for the Century: "What's God up to?" This is the question that counts.
It's Thursday afternoon or later, and Sunday is coming. For a pastor, the push is on to compose a sermon with application that's relevant to its hearers, along with compelling stories that illumine the connection to daily life. I do not disparage these pressures; I know them myself.
As the Season of Lent rushes toward inevitability, scripture calls us to play the old game of Truth or Consequences—no, not the game show from the 1960s, but the old-time religion game of suffering and salvation.