Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Margaret Preston (1875-1963). Grevillea leucopteris 1946, National Gallery of Australia.
Keeping a good Lent, with Rob Lamerton
As we begin to move through Lent we will discover that the Scriptures confront us aspects of our discipleship. Having discovered in Epiphany that Christ is the end of our journey we now undertake through Lent a crash course in what it means to be a disciple. [One challenge is] obedience and faithfulness in the face of the temptation to meet our own needs, to place unreasonable demands on God and to attempt to take the short cut to enter the Kingdom by abandoning our calling and God.
[Another challenge is] on the nature of faith and the relationship of law and grace! … Paul describes Abraham as one who acted in faith before "the book" of the law came into being! The Law of the covenant which was meant to enable the people with Moses to be "a priestly kingdom and a holy nation", eventually stifled and destroyed faith. I suppose we all know people who do things "by the book" and are not free to act in faith!
The story of Nicodemus coming to Jesus in John's gospel is another version of the confrontations between Jesus and the Pharisees on so many other occasions. Nicodemus represents those strict adherents of the law and although he struggles to understand, he is bewildered that God might act in one such as Jesus. On the other hand Jesus speaks of being born from above, of the activity and unpredictability of the Spirit. He is speaking of a relationship with God which is filled with grace and freedom, a faith which knows the law but which lives to a higher standard and is at the same time celebratory, liberated, joyful, free and renewing! It is a freedom Nicodemus cannot comprehend! Can we? (Rob Lamerton, St Philip's Pewsheet, 20 February 2005)
Lord Jesus Christ, you took upon yourself the form of a servant, humbling yourself and accepting death. May we also be ready take upon ourselves the life of humility and service that with you we may attain to the power of an endless life.
Walter Rodrigues Jr., jazz guitarist, plays "Abide with me."
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.