Year C, Lent 5, 2016 – Don’t Look Behind You
How many of you read the title and got a bit of a chill? It’s a classic line used in spooky stories, intended to thrill listeners with hints of disaster creeping up on them. So, why use it here, you may be wondering? Because it is very good advice! Not that there is anything horrible right behind you, but a common theme in this Sunday’s passages suggest that what has happened is firmly in the past and what matters most is what is right in front of you. We are frequently encouraged to remember God’s saving action – which is the foundation of our faith – but to spend too much time in the past limits our capacity to see what God is doing RIGHT NOW. As we get into the readings for this week, let the past be in the past and don’t look behind you.
This Week’s Texts
Isaiah 43:16-21 [2:10] – The Lord is about to do a new thing that will spring forth – do you not perceive it? In our part of the country, spring is beginning to – well, spring. Trees and bushes are getting the telltale signs of sap running again, some crocuses and daffodils are poking up out of the dirt, and the birds are getting pretty aggressive. Nature is swinging back around to a productive time and after all the cold and snow, the signs are welcome. In Isaiah, water will replace dry land in a reverse Exodus and God will now be praised for leading the people back home. We have ideas for all eight smarts for Isaiah including taking some time during worship to clear cell phones of memory hogging clutter! How is God doing a new thing in your ministry? Can you perceive it?
- Smarts: Word [3:04], Eye [3:48], Math, [6:11] Body [7:06], Music [8:07], Nature [8:18], People [9:21], Self [11:20]
- Isaiah 43 worksheet
Philippians 3:4b-14 [12:36] – If any passage in Scripture illustrates the advice not to look back, it is this portion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. If anyone had any reason to look back and celebrate his glorious achievements, it was Paul – as he lists in the first verses. He had been on a path that would lead him to fantastic heights in his career; he was dedicated, determined, zealous, ready to do anything necessary to further God’s kingdom. Then, he met Jesus. After that, all that he had been and all that he had done was nothing to him. Building on this encounter, Paul encourages the Philippians to consider the great value of knowing Jesus. By using marathon runners, balance sheets, and a dry erase board, we hope you will be able to provide the same opportunity for your people.
- Smarts: Eye [14:00], Math [14:53], Body [16:18], People [18:08], Self [19:42]
- Philippians 3 worksheet
John 12:1-8 [21:14] – Looking into the future is a bit tough in this passage because it is six days before the Passover and seven days before Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. Considering the pain that is about to rain down, going on takes great stamina and trust. Yet, what is the alternative? Going back into the past at this point means that Jesus came for no reason. Going back into the past means that we have no options for living differently. Staying in the old story means that God is not doing a new thing and there really is no reason to sing praises. The smell of outrageously expensive ointment permeates this house and this passage and our understanding of just how costly Jesus coming to us really was. What does forgiveness smell like? What does resurrection smell like? What does the future smell like?
- Smarts: Math [21:56], Body [24:00], Nature [26:56], People [27:29], Self [28:45]
- John 12 worksheet
Kids playing in water fountains
A study about animal gratitude
2014 National Average Wage Index
Average working days in the USA
A Greek litra
Got Nard? (Actually 10 ml, not 1/10 ml as David said in the show.)