Tuesday, March 11, 2014

First Wednesday in Lent

Psalm 5      Genesis 37:25-36      1 Corinthians 2:1-13      Mark 1:29-45

. . . no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”    1 Corinthians 2:9

In the accelerated church year, we have come from the excitement, pageantry and glory of Epiphany to the season of Lent, a time of reflection, cleansing, and preparation for taking up the cross. Just as Jesus has left the temple and the council of the “law and the prophets” to wrestle with the Spirit, with the darkness, with the holy, with the profane, so we are challenged to absorb the example of Christ, to discern and declare our ministry, to renounce as we are able the superficiality of the world and open ourselves to the wisdom of God. Paul says, “I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing . . . except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I come to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.” This is not the expected or acceptable approach to life in this 21st century. We seek to be connected, in control, hip, alert, tasteful and kind to animals. But Paul demurs; “my speech and proclamation are not with . . . words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit . . . so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.”

The passage from the Gospel that accompanies today’s epistle describes a period of Jesus’ healing ministry. He is not evangelizing, teaching or describing the Kingdom of Heaven. He is healing God’s creation; he is employing the “demonstration of the Spirit” not seeking praise or converts or riches but because he is of the Spirit, “. . . for that is what I came out to do.”  We can come through Lent with increased clarity of our path and its promise but only by casting aside the distractions and temptations from the “wisdom of this age” that work to obscure “. . . God’s wisdom, secret and hidden.”
God of all wisdom we come before you at this time seeking strength from our weakness, courage for our fear, and stability to our trembling so that we may learn your ways and live in your service through Jesus Christ our Lord and the Eternal Spirit. AMEN

Peter Dennison 

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