February 21, 2021
Dear Lake B Family & Friends,
Over the next several weeks of Lent, you will be hearing from different voices in our community - offering devotional reflections to encourage our own journey on the way to Holy Week...
Our theme for Lent is “Beautiful Questions on the Way.”
May Christ meet us in the beautiful questions that surface in the weeks to come - through the weekly devotions, through our Sunday services & through the sacred conversations of your Lenten small groups.
Thank you to each writer who will be contributing to our Lake B Devotional!
Gospel Reading for the First Sunday in Lent
The traditional words of Ash Wednesday tell us: remember you are dust, and to dust you will return. We are reminded of our human mortality, and that our lives are fragile, vulnerable, and brief.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, to dust you will return vulnerability appears as a man is beaten by robbers and left half dead, and as a priest and a Levite pass him by. Was the man left unconscious? Or are we meant to imagine him watching, injured and helpless, as one religious leader and then another glances at him, sizes him up, decides it’s not worth getting involved, crosses the road, and keeps walking? Sometimes being abandoned and ignored in our distress is a kind of secondary trauma just as hurtful as our original wounds. Lent reminds us we, too, are vulnerable. Sometimes we show mercy; sometimes our vulnerability calls forth mercy in others. We are all neighbors to one another, God’s children together, invited to be merciful and in need of mercy. The Samaritan – not the religious leaders - showed us what it looks like.
Martha’s interaction with Jesus also reveals this to dust you will return vulnerability. She asks Jesus: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?” Jesus, don’t you see the things that overwhelm me with anxiety? The people by whom I feel let down? The difficulty of changing anything, or of even hoping something might change? The powerlessness I feel? These are honest, vulnerable questions. And Jesus loves them. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” Perhaps he is not scolding Martha but inviting her to let go of some of the many weights she has been carrying, and instead to find one thing - just one next good thing - to do, and do it. Maybe this is how Martha learns to love herself so she can then love her neighbor as herself.
What vulnerable, human, difficult, honest, messy, beautiful questions have surfaced for us amid the various kinds of to dust you will return vulnerability we have experienced in the last year? How can we choose to lean into these questions together during Lent (and beyond)?
Thanks to contributing writer, Liz Jenkins.