Lent IIIA – March 15, 2020
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
St. Paul’s welcomed a guest preacher to worship on Sunday, October 7 – Deacon Timothy Siburg, Director for Stewardship of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA – but we also had a service on Saturday afternoon. Below is a brief summary of the message preached by Pastor Andrew at that service.
The readings for this week seem to be disjointed at first glance. We begin with a story about creation, move to a sort of mystical reflection on the significance of Christ’s life and death for us and our world, and then conclude with Jesus teaching about divorce and encouraging child-like faith. The thread that seems to tie these readings together is the reality that our life is lived in relationship with others.
In the first account of creation in Genesis, God pronounces creation good at the end of each day, then “very good” at its completion. The first time we hear that anything is “not good” is when the first person, the adam, is found to be without a suitable partner. We are made to be in relationship, and it is not good for us to be alone. God creates Eve to provide companionship and help to Adam, not as a hierarchical relationship, but as a partnership of equals.
Jesus picks up that thread in the gospel reading from Mark, highlighting the seriousness of the promises we make to one another, especially in marriage, but also touching on our relationships with those who are considered less important, as children often were in the first century. His admonition to seek after God with child-like wonder, open-mindedness, and vulnerability, is also a good way for us to seek relationship with one another.
Even Hebrews, which seems so removed from our experience, speaks of our relationship with God in Christ, and how Christ blazed the trail of our salvation so that we can follow him in trust.
Our ability to live well in relationship with others is a key part of our witness to Jesus. In a society increasingly given to tribalism and division, we have an opportunity to show a different way of being in the world. We are united in Christ, and called to see all people – partners, family, friends, neighbors, and strangers alike – as people worthy of compassion, respect, and dignity. May it be so among us.