Divided But Not Separated
We are now approaching the fifth Sunday in Lent. The world situation has brought us into a place of change. Each day the news seems a little darker than the last. Many of us are wondering where current events will lead us as persons and as a human family. It is my hope that the challenge facing us will lead us to an active trust in the God who made us and who loves us without reservation. The God who overcomes the fear of death by the promise of resurrection.
Leaders all over the world are encouraging their citizens to avoid contact with others. This is not going to be an easy task. As human beings we were made for companionship and community. Sunday morning at Church is one example of our gathering together to share in the singing of songs, reading of scripture and sharing of insights related to those scriptures and our life situation. What are we to do while personal contact is discouraged?
For my part I will be posting thoughts like this on a regular basis. They will present my experience with the lectionary readings which stand near the centre of our shared experience of worship. This week we have three texts which offer insight and encouragement as we go forward in faith. The first text is Psalm 130. It presents the longing of the human heart for right relationship with God. We notice the problem of persons not doing the right thing. While we often feel inadequate in the presence of God, the Psalm makes clear that God does not reject us because we are not perfect. We are accepted and loved. That acceptance and love offer the key to opening the way forward. Trusting in the love of God we are made able to face the challenge of our time with hope and confidence.
The second text is found in the gospel of John (11: 1-27). The author tells us a story about Jesus and some of his very close friends. Lazarus is seriously sick and facing death. Even so, Jesus seems in no hurry to be with him. He tells his followers that Lazarus will not be silenced by death. Hearing this the followers are uncertain about what Jesus means. They seem resigned to the fact that those with power will arrest and punish Jesus for his refusal of religious beliefs and practices. It seems quite clear that these men have no clear understanding about who Jesus is and what he represents. We may be surprised to learn that the women who know Jesus seem quite clear on who he is and what he makes available. They see him as the redeemer come from God to save us from the threat of death. Jesus affirms this by making clear that all who trust in the way of God will be raised from the dead and brought into everlasting life.
Then, in the reading from Romans (8: 6-11), we discover the difference between life in the flesh and life in the spirit. Those who see only the material aspect of human being are subject to death. This is not the case with those who are born again by the coming of God's spirit. We learn that living life to satisfy the body leads to death. It is those who live in service to the spirit that will not die but live eternally in the sight of God. Knowing this leads us to choose the way of the spirit over the way of the body. It is the way of the spirit which we now have opportunity to welcome and embrace. All who do so will be blessed by God now and for eternity.
I will end with a small video from some years ago. It speaks about our connection to God and one another. Though the divider seeks to separate us we are able to resist by the practice of love which unites us and makes us strong in the face of any challenge.