February 28, 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 Second Sunday in Lent
Luke 13:1-9 and 31-35
The passage begins with people having asked Jesus about state-sanctioned violence against the Galileans. We don’t know details of the mass murder, but we do know Galileans were looked down upon as rabble-rousers and threats. They started a commotion while in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices; the Roman governor Pilate ordered an end to the disturbance, and the Galileans were murdered (use of excessive force). Jesus responds with his own question and a call to repentance. God also calls us – the Church – to repent. But what does repentance look like? And of what are we repenting?
Can we see the parallels between the Galileans in this passage and Black and Brown people in our country? America’s history is stained with state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown people who are seen as threats in our communities and condemned when they rise up and demand justice for themselves. Many forms of harm are produced and/or promoted in policies, education, business practices, law enforcement and other institutions – even churches – that shape American life and values.
This passage is a call for the Church to face the truth, lament and repent. It is tempting to disregard the first two invitations and move straight into repentance. However, true repentance is impossible without first facing the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or horrific it is. In our current context, can we admit to ways we have explicitly or implicitly participated in harm and violence committed towards our Black and Brown brothers and sisters? Can we lament the lives lost and communities broken as a result of our complicity? What truths are we refusing to face out of fear, inconvenience, or unwillingness to be uncomfortable? How have we been complicit in the violence against Black and Brown people because we ultimately reap the benefits of that violence? Only after we press faithfully into truth and lament will we come to true repentance that leads us to change our commitments, policies and practices.
Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree exposes our failure to step into truth-telling, lamenting and repenting. If the Church is the fig tree in this parable, we are accused of wasting soil because we bear no fruit. What does our fruit look and taste like? As the Church, God has anointed us to be bearers of good news to our neighbors; this is much more than handing out pamphlets with WWJD bracelets. The good news that moves our communities toward justice and restoration includes guaranteed affordable housing and healthcare, living wages, clean water, access to mental health services, rehabilitation and reunion of incarcerated people with their families, and financial and land reparations. Are we producing that fruit? If not, why not? Good news of justice and restoration is the fruit, growing on branches of repentance, and rooted in truth and lament. Deepening our roots is the only way we can grow strong branches that will then bear fruit.
Reflect on these questions in this week’s leg of our Lenten journey:
Thanks to contributing writer, Megan Won.