Living in the Tension


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Second Sunday of Lent

Lent is a season that invites us to acknowledge the tension between the “already, but not yet.”  The tension between being full participants in the Kingdom of God but recognizing we still live in a world that is marred by brokenness, pain and the pending arrival of God’s total restoration.

 

But we are also reminded that the Lamb of God is with us in the midst of this tension.  He is working to empower us to live into the fullness of the Kingdom of God, and to carry it with us into the broken, hurting, dark places of our world.

 

The Lectionary Texts

 

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

1 Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”

4 Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” 5 Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

7 Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”

8 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”

9 The Lord told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. 11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.

12 As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him.

17 After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. 18 So the Lord made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River.

 

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—

so why should I be afraid?

The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

so why should I tremble?

2 When evil people come to devour me,

when my enemies and foes attack me,

they will stumble and fall.

3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,

my heart will not be afraid.

Even if I am attacked,

I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—

the thing I seek most—

is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

delighting in the Lord’s perfections

and meditating in his Temple.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;

he will hide me in his sanctuary.

He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

6 Then I will hold my head high

above my enemies who surround me.

At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,

singing and praising the Lord with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.

Be merciful and answer me!

8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”

And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

9 Do not turn your back on me.

Do not reject your servant in anger.

You have always been my helper.

Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,

O God of my salvation!

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,

the Lord will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.

Lead me along the right path,

for my enemies are waiting for me.

12 Do not let me fall into their hands.

For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;

with every breath they threaten me with violence.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness

while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

 

Luke 13:31-35

31 At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”

32 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. 33 Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 35 And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

 

Philippians 3:17-4:1

17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

4:1 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.

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