Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (Psalm 27); Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 (Psalm 22:23-31); Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38
Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17 or Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus and Peter care about each other enough to call each other out.
I was at a class reunion with several former classmates when one of them, a professor of philosophy, asked an unusual question: “What fears have you conquered over the years and what new ones have you acquired?” Not eager to make our private fears public, each of us waited for someone else to open up the discourse. One person finally listed some familiar fears, including “mice,” “being left out or abandoned” and “the dark.”
Do not look for this mountain on a Bible map. It juts out not from the topography of Galilee, but from the topography of God.
An economic migrant—a desert nomad—leads his family toward a land of promise, believing he is following the will of his Creator. And so begins the great trek for new life, survival, redemption. He will find danger, so much danger that he plans to pass his wife off as his sister. It is a trek repeated today in the heat of the Sonoran desert, in boats from Africa running ashore in southern Europe, in the hulls of boats from Fujian province to the shores of Long Island.
When my friends and I sang at church camp, we sang sincerely, often teary-eyed, seated on the ground with the cross illumined by candlelight in front of us. In those emotional moments, I imagined myself to be standing firm in the Lord as Paul had urged the Philippians to do. In those moments, I was determined to set my face toward him. But my single-mindedness never lasted.
We are reading Romans 4 with the eyes of believers on a Lenten journey. There is a time for debate over law and gospel, works and grace—but not now.
Portrayed as a cowardly dolt, Nicodemus is usually spotted skulking about under cover of darkness.