Pathways through Lent

The Word of God

Psalm 71 Genesis 42:29–38 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 Mark 4:21–34

Today’s readings are particularly, well, Lenten.

In Genesis, we hear Jacob’s lament: “Everything is against me!” While we know this story is about overcoming adversity with compassion, what we hear is Jacob accusing God of being against him. I certainly know that feeling.

St. Paul talks about desecrating our bodies, temples of God. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial.” Are we treating this special gift from the Creator with honor and respect? (Maybe that is why we give up alcohol or sugar during Lent!)

And Mark’s gospel is full of Jesus teaching in parables about the kingdom, some of which don’t make much sense at all. A lamp to give light is hidden? Jesus, perfectly comfortable with paradoxes, tells us that even those who should know, do not. I understand feeling confused and living in tension.

Lent is the perfect opportunity for us to be curious. It is a time to wonder if, when God seems against us, it might be because there is another plan for us. It is a time to ask if what we are doing with ourselves glorifies God. It is a time to see whether our lamp shines or we hide it from ourselves, others—or even God.

I invite you to join me in this season of Lent and read God’s word, asking What does this mean for me? Only you, and God, will truly know.

–Elizabeth Gardner

(Click to hear the Soweto Gospel Choir sing “This Little Light of Mine” based on the same parable from Mark Elizabeth refers to in her meditation)

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