Third Sunday in Lent
For Sunday, March 7, 2010
Food always seems to taste better out here in the wilderness. For those of us living in the prosperous West being in the wilderness is one of the few times we actually experience hunger. I remember being on a five-day canoe trip in Northern Wisconsin as a junior high school student while attending Camp Manitowish. My friend Rick and I spent the last night thinking about how when we returned home we would cook up a big breakfast – featuring fried Spam. As the Russians say, hunger is indeed the best cook.
This week’s readings provide some wonderful soul food for us. Isaiah 55 opens with “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will live. . . Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Is there wickedness standing between us and the Lord this day? Are their evil thoughts polluting our souls? Father, we turn from our wickedness and from our evil thoughts, knowing that you freely pardon. How good it is to return to you this day.
Psalm 63 reminds us that the food our souls need is from our Creator: “My soul thirsts for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” Our Father shelters our lives as does the strong wings of an eagle its young. Father, it is very good to have your protection today.
Luke 13 then brings us to the crux of the spiritual decision facing us: “repent or perish.” God in his holiness will tolerate brokenness and alienation only for so long. There will come a time when he will finish reconciling the world to himself. Will we be with him or apart from him: will we repent, or will we perish?
Lastly, 1 Corinthians 10 then enjoins us not to presume upon our salvation. The Israelites who left Egypt thought they were all good to go. Yet this was not the case. Some gave themselves to the prevailing culture of the day; others to sexual immorality. Others blamed God for their circumstances, failing to understand that the journey to the Promised Land would involve hardships. Still others grumbled that they would be better off back in Egypt or dead. Be careful what you wish for.
These readings represent an invitation to confess our sin, to repent of it, and to receive mercy from the one who freely pardons. Father, thank you for this day, thank you for your grace, and thank you that we can continue with you today on this journey of faith.