Year C, Lent 4, 2016 – Arriving Where We Started
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~ T. S. Eliot, The Little Gidding, 1942
We pray that your Lenten explorations are bringing you to interesting places, shaping your heart and ministry in service, and preparing you for the celebration of Easter. In the passages for Lent this Sunday, we see how God repeatedly prepares the people for a return – to their home, their senses, their hearts, their God. The journey through Lent is meant to be a time to make ready, and we hope that you are not too hard pressed by this trip. Sometimes, Lent whips by and you discover yourself in Holy Week wondering how you got there so quickly from Ash Wednesday, and other times Lent seems to stretch out like driving across Kansas. “Are we there yet?” we may moan. Either way, these lessons show us how the act of turning towards home itself shapes us; the destination pulls as the experience molds. When we get home, we are new people who see the place with fresh eyes.
This Week’s Texts
Joshua 5: 9-12 [2:12] – The people are coming home! After 40 years of wilderness wandering, they prepare themselves to re-enter the land promised to Abraham. We look at the celebration of the Passover – including putting together the elements for a Seder plate and considering how traditions come to be and how they do (or don’t) reflect God’s glory. We explore what God means by “rolling away the disgrace of Egypt” for both the ancient Hebrews and us. Once the people enter the land and begin to eat the produce of it, the manna God had provided stopped coming. In a very clear way, God is telling the people “You are home, now, and it’s time to make this home.” How are we at home with God in our daily living?
- Smarts: Word [3:21], Eye [4:27], Body [5:17], Nature [5:52], People [6:46], Self [8:39]
- Joshua 5 worksheet
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 [10:11] – How do we see other people on the journey with us? I suppose that depends on how far along we are, what’s currently happening, and our own levels of endurance. Paul writes to his beloved Corinthians that because of what God did for us through Jesus, we have the capacity to see fellow travelers through the eyes of heaven and not road weary fatigue. Not only do we have this new capacity to see as Jesus did, but we are ourselves made new. The trials of the trip no longer have the power to crush us anymore. We will be shaped by them because the pressures are still forces, but through the grace of God and the guidance of the Spirit we will arrive in a form designed by God to be used as ambassadors of reconciliation. Using the ideas in eye smart, how can you bring a new perspective (understanding) to your congregation’s vision?
- Smarts: Eye [11:08], Nature [14:58], People [15:38], Self [17:47]
- 2 Corinthians 5 worksheet
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 [20:51] – But what about the people who did not leave home? What is their response to seeing the returnees? For the father in Jesus’ parable the response is earth quaking, heaven moving joy. For the older brother the response is — not so joyful. A bit resentful, as a matter of fact. We explore this passage with questions about how extreme hunger impacted the younger brother’s body (and mind/spirit) and how seeing his emaciated form approaching the homestead pulsed through his father and older brother. Since this is such a familiar story, David used his verse making skillz and put the entire thing in verse form. Look for it below! How might the father’s joy of having his family reunited be best interpreted for your congregation? And is this joy a precursor to the joy of Easter?
- Smarts: Word [21:24], Body [22:48], Music [24:33], People [25:27], Self [26:29]
- Luke 15 worksheet
Bible Hub’s definition for the word disgrace
2 Corinthians 5
Magic Eye pictures
Examples of shadow art
Becoming “sin” in order to save – clip from Matrix Revolutions
A story about a man named Bob Fletcher who saved three farms for Japanese Americans during WW2 without any thought to his own reward. Contrast this with the elder brother’s attitude.
David’s Prodigal Son Rap:Epic Doggerel