The 2nd Sunday of Lent is similar to the first Sunday where the first lesson, Psalm and Epistle share one theme–a theme of God’s grace working in the great patriarch & matriarch of the faith. The Gospel picks up the theme of the cross and discipline. The season of Lent is both/and—grace and discipline.
- The story of Abraham and Sarah is an excellent opportunity to share our faith history. The start of God’s people begins with an unlikely, elderly couple who go all in. They hear the call to service and respond with a shaky “Yes.” There is a hint of doubt as you read the entire story of Abraham. Sarah laughs at the proposition of becoming the mother of a nation. It seems quite impossible given that they are already beyond child-bearing age. But God’s covenants will not be thwarted. They are blessed to be a blessing to all nations. Their story is our story. Their blessing is our blessing.
- The Psalm proclaims the blessing God’s people are called to be in the world. It is a blessing rooted in God’s covenant. It makes an excellent Psalter for worship this Sunday. The everlasting covenant calls us all to remember– (vv. 29-30) My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the LORD’S for ever.They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that he has done.
- The lesson from Romans is another compliment to the OT lesson. You can see Paul’s theology of the Abrahamic covenant. God’s promise to Abraham is available to all, not because of Law but because of Faith. The faith of Abraham in God’s promises was another “all in” approach. In the last verses of the pericope, Paul reinterprets Abraham’s faith in the light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Another promise that calls us to faith.
- The Gospel lesson takes the theology of the cross that is touched upon in Romans, and makes it explicit. Jesus proclaims the future to the disciples, and Peter wants to hear none of it. Peter still seeks the victorious Messiah, not a weak, slain leader. Jesus rebukes Peter (giving the highest insult–calling him “Satan”) and then teaches the disciples— “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?” The call to the first disciples is still our call–take up the cross. The way of discipleship is life-giving, but it is not without sacrifice, and it is not without loss. The way of the cross leads home–are we ready to be on the way? Important question to answer–What is the way of the cross for 21st century disciples? What is our life giving sacrifice?
- Grace is Free, But It’s Not Cheap by Dan Clendenin
- Power Poured Out by the Powerless from Witness Magazine
- Fred Craddock Lenten Roadmap (Romans 4:13-25)