March Journal: Passion Sunday, Fourth Sunday in Lent

We celebrated the Annunciation this last week, Archangel Gabriel’s visit to Mary to announce the grace she would receive, if she consented to bearing the Son of God. “Let it be unto me according to thy will,” she says, assenting, her great fiat. Her “yes” changed the world forever, giving us the Redeemer and showing us how to say yes too.

She teaches us humility, so necessary to see God and listen to his plans for us. 

We have become gods in our own eyes, with eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. We are blinded by our own will, pride, and self-love. All sin is selfishness, a bishop once said to me. We become bound by our own desires.

And so we begin Passiontide, the last days and weeks of our journey to Jerusalem. As I listened to our wise, soft-spoken preacher this morning, sitting in a chair before the purple covered tabernacle, in his purple vestments, I marveled how individuals can age like fine wine. Each one of us, so unique, can make the choice to listen to God rather than be as gods. We can choose to step carefully through our own lives and be responsible for the space and time into which we are born. We cannot save the world if we cannot save ourselves. We cannot save ourselves if we do not cherish life at all ages in all stages.

Our preacher spoke of the Gospel lesson appointed for today and the weaving dialog between Our Lord and the Pharisees (St. John 8:46+). The passage considers the question, who is Jesus? “Who do you say that I am?” he asked Peter earlier, using the forbidden name for God, I am. It is a heartening passage, watching Our Lord’s skill in this debate, as he considers truth, logic, reason, until finally he sums up the conversation with, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.”

The Pharisees are not of God, Christ says, for they do not recognize who he is. If not of God, who are they? Who do they represent? Who owns them? Our preacher spoke of the darkness that is seen in this passage. It is easy to slip into the darkness, to not answer the question. It is easy to look away, step aside, keep silent, allow our hearts and minds to not hear the question. We either say yes to God, or we say no with our silence. A house divided cannot stand. For or against. There is no inbetween. There will be an accounting.

In the movie, “God Is Not Dead 2,” the protagonist, a teacher, describes how she came to believe in Christ. She was troubled by something, and went for a walk, and she passed by a church with a sign out front that asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” She didn’t think much about it but for the next few days the question haunted her. She wanted to answer it, and seeks out a pastor to explain it all. The question changed her life. And it is true – “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” She is reborn.

I often have thought that we are reborn again and again, each time we confess, are absolved, and return to God, clean of sin. And with each rebirth, we grow further into who we are meant to be. It is a lifetime of falling and rising, reaching for his hand. It is a lifetime of silence and sudden speech, of filling the void of our lives with the music of the spheres and learning to dance. We empty out and fill up, again and again, and each time we are made whole, more holy than before. It is a time not to be missed, this time of our lives. To know true joy, we embrace the gift of faith, learning and loving, with liturgy and song and prayer. The Church gives us this chance to live out the time of our lives with God – the Father, the Son, the Spirit.

Who do you say that He is?

It’s a question to be answered, today on Passion Sunday, as we journey to Jerusalem to enter the greatest love ever known, the love of God.

And as I journey, I’m revisiting my Lenten discipline, my “Prayer for a Sick Person.” (BCP 45)

“Father of mercies and God of all comfort, we humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant Francis, for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Francis is undergoing an operation on Wednesday. Please pray for him.

One response to “March Journal: Passion Sunday, Fourth Sunday in Lent

  1. christine moruza

    Will pray for Francis.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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