Here is a link to the readings for March 29, 2020, Lent V
And here are the questions for us to prayerfully consider as we prepare for worship this Sunday, the Fifth Sunday in Lent. We hope you will find them a useful resource as you prepare to receive them in one of our three livestreamed services on our YouTube channel this Sunday.
This is an Old Testament image of resurrection. What are some of its characteristics? Consider these elements– It is directed toward the whole people of God known as Israel in Ezekiel’s day. It is communal—about them as a community, not just as individuals. And it gives hope to people that are hopeless. This understanding of resurrection was the scriptural background and cultural context for the Christian message proclaimed about Jesus in the first century. It is how resurrection has been proclaimed through history and continues to be proclaimed today. How do you understand resurrection in Jesus? What is your hope? Does your hope extend beyond you as an individual to all of humanity?
This is one of the seven penitential psalms that are especially appropriate for Lent. This psalm also fits our current circumstances as we face the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus; and the hardships on individuals who are ill, their families, the health care workers, and our economy. Pray this psalm for the week and consider keeping it as part of your prayers while we remain in quarantine.
We receive the Holy Spirit in our baptism and are renewed in the Spirit throughout our lives of faith. In these few verses, we are promised great power: the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us! What does this power look like, feel like, in our life? Some examples—our capacity to love others, even those who are hard to love. Our willingness to forgive people as a central part of our life and identity. Our curiosity about God and life and meaning—how that translates into our desire to know and serve God with simple trust and daily courage. And our hope to live with God beyond the limits of this life. The Spirit in us brings remarkable power in our lives.
This is a long Gospel reading. Try reading it as four acts in a play: 1) Jesus talking with his disciples; 2) Jesus talking with Martha; 3) Jesus talking with Mary; 4) Jesus at the tomb calling forth Lazarus. Take time to mediate on each act. What stands out to you in each scene? If you were Mary or Martha or ones of the disciples or one of the bystanders—or Jesus—how would you feel? How would you feel before the miracle and after? As you pray and reflect on these scenes, consider what bubbles up in your life today. With whom do you identify? What questions do you have? What assurance do you receive?