Joshua 5:9-12 (Psalm 32); 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Numbers 21:4-9 (Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22); Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
Look, people are sinking under the waters. Here in this wilderness, people are perishing.
As we move deeper into Lent and its emphasis on repentance, spiritual introspection, self-examination and self-denial, many of us choose to practice Lenten disciplines. If we have become involved in the season’s imagery and expectations, we may find ourselves reading biblical texts from a spare and minimalist perspective.
As much as we might like to make the faith about spiritual enlightenment or ethical ideals or the broad love of God that inspires tolerance, the fact of the matter is that the gospel is at root a rescue story.
Samuel, the Billy Graham of his day, was adviser to the political leader Saul, the Pete Rose of ancient Israel. Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. But soon (to quote James Thurber), “confusion got its foot in the door” and went through the entire “system.” Samuel observed Saul disobeying the explicit word of God, and it became Samuel’s job to inform Saul that God had rejected him as king.
"A man had two sons . . .” was a common way to begin a parable, especially one comparing good and bad sons. Matthew uses it to contrast one son, who promises to work in the vineyard but never shows up, with another, who at first adamantly refuses to go to the vineyard but later repents and goes (21:28-32). Which one did the will of his father, asks Jesus? Not the one who talked a good game, but the one who actually followed through with obedient actions.
The writer of Ephesians interprets what is happening to a person entering the Christian life.