Second Sunday of Lent

& archive, Year A.

Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus Christ,
You  call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To receive your Spirit,
To be led by your Spirit.
Amen

Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.

Season of Lent:  Week Two

This week the Lenten journey takes on a pathway inward. This is no wasted travel! Any attention we give to the interior of who we are will gradually transform the way we see and relate to the outer world. And any attention we give to God’s presence and work within us will transform our being and doing in the world around us.

Nicodemus finds himself held captive to the rules and regulations of the religious sect of his outer world as a Pharisee—a religious leader of the Jews. A separatist sect, the Pharisees believe that by observing all facets of the Mosaic Law in Scripture and all additions to that Law contained within the traditions, that they would be fully righteous before God and the people. This strict observance requires that they do not enter the house or eat meals with persons who are “unclean” – persons who do not keep all of the Law and its traditions. Jesus is such a person. Early in his ministry “many tax collectors and sinners” come and sit with him and his disciples in Matthew’s house, Matthew who is also a tax collector; and it is the Pharisees who call such social behavior into question (Matthew 9:9-13),  For the Pharisees those who collect taxes from the Jews on behalf of the Roman government are unclean, and therefore untouchable. For Jesus, these are the very ones he is here to welcome and receive.

This leader of the Jews, Nicodemus, feels drawn to this Rabbi (teacher) Jesus—clean or unclean—and so he comes under cover of darkness and seeks Jesus out, saying: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”  There is a certain logic here, a logic which rests on Nicodemus’ knowledge of the Hebrew narratives of God’s, the children of Israel. A life stream of signs and wonders circulates throughout these stories, a life stream which signals God’s presence and power.  Abraham and Sarah learn this as they enter into this life stream and learn slowly to trust the presence and action of God in the midst of the impossible. This same life stream signals God’s presence and power in Jesus’ life and doings, through the indwelling of the Spirit of God.

It is to this indwelling that Jesus draws Nicodemus’ attention. And our attention. All of the gospel narratives contain an invitation for us to enter and to be met by this One who welcomes and receives our presence. Jesus calls us to journey beyond the limits of our logic and to be receptive to the birthing and life-making presence of the Holy Spirit. To welcome and receive the wind of the Spirit. Here Jesus is taking us into the realm of heavenly things.

If we don’t understand, that is where we are. But this Jesus comes to where we are, and invites us to trust that God comes in the Spirit, birthing the new creation within us – and thus bringing the kingdom of God within and among us in the world.

 

Season of Lent:  Week Two

 

3/14      Monday:  John 3:1-6
3/15    Tuesday: John 3:7-17
3/16    Wednesday: Psalm 51:1-17
3/17   Thursday: Genesis 12:1-4a
3/18    Friday:  Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
3/19    Saturday:  John 3:1-6
3/20    Sunday: John 3:7-17