Introduction to the readings for Lent 2
Sunday, March 12, 2017
On the second Sunday in the season of Lent, we begin with a reading from Hebrew scriptures and a story about how God’s call and God’s promise can be life altering. Reading from the book of Genesis, Chapter 12, verses 1-4a “God calls Abram to be a blessing”.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land I will show you.
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram went, as the lord had told him; and Lot went with him.”
Our reading from the Christian texts also brings us a life altering conversation. Listen with care to another example of a life altering conversation, this time between Jesus and Nicodemus. Nicodemus is a well know religious leader in his community who seems to have deliberately come seeking Jesus out for a conversation in the dark of night.
Reading from the gospel according to John, Chapter 3, verses 1-17
“Nicodemus learns that “God so loved the world”.
“Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old?
Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?”
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church. Thanks be to God, amen.