This week is a twofer! Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and we begin Lent with this passage from Mark 9:30-37. Working Preacher commentary here. While Jesus tries to teach the disciples about the suffering, betrayal, and death that he’s heading toward, the disciples are arguing about which of them is the greatest. Not their finest moment, but perhaps a perfect way for us to remember that we are dust, and to dust we will return.
Sunday, Lent begins with Mark 10:17-31. Working Preacher commentary here. Someone asks Jesus, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ and we are reminded that we shouldn’t ask a question to which we don’t wish to hear the answer.
“You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
How can we preach this word in a way that inspires us to dismantle the systems that may even benefit us, while they oppress others? Whether we’re talking about climate change, or unfettered capitalism, or racism, or patriarchy, like the rich young man talking to Jesus, we are participants in systems that make the world dangerous for God’s children.
When Jesus gave his challenging advice, the text tells us: Jesus, looking at him, loved him… Jesus sees us, and sees the ways we have made our own wholeness more difficult, an Jesus loves us. He tells his disciples that for mortals, it is impossible, but with God, everything is possible.
Our mortal, dust-to-dust, natures are both the reason we try to be good and the reason it is so hard to do good. How can we love each other into creating a better world for all, relying on God?
The NL/DR Podcast by Dr. Robert Williamson and Dr. Amy Robertson appears to have been renamed Bible Worm (or else my google skills have failed me.) Try this link for their great podcast.
If you have Ash Wednesday liturgy or traditions to share, please add them in the comments.
Did you hide the ‘alleluias’ on Transfiguration or are you doing something to mark Lent as a different season this year? Please share ideas here.
Here’s a Lent Photo a Day Devotional idea:
One idea I’m stealing from Mark Hanna in the Narrative Lectionary Facebook group is to not speak the Assurance of Pardon after our Prayer of Confession. He offers this explanation in the bulletin:
“The assurance of God’s love is always there for us. However, as a spiritual discipline during Lent we will refrain from speaking the Words of the Assurance, singing the Gloria Patri or Passing the Peace. We will spend some extra time in prayer and silent reflection. When we return to these the words of assurance beyond Lent, may we do so with renewed appreciation because we have experienced their absence.”
I suspect people may lose their minds when we don’t pass the peace in worship. Wish me luck!
Where are your sermons take you this week as we enter Lent?
Marci Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the boards of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and the Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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