Kelsey Brown, Arverne,NY

Warm-up Question

Have you ever gone on a journey? (A walk, a school trip, a vacation?)  How did it feel to leave home? 

On a Journey

The world is constant in flux, moving and grooving all around us, while we stay relatively still. When it’s a chilly winter morning in my beloved New York City, the summer night is steamy hot in Australia. Most days we live in two different realities, but what happens when an event affects our global community? Our realities become shared. When one is harmed, all are harmed. When one rejoices, we also rejoice.

Right now, far away from some of us but near to others, Russian has invaded Ukraine. Confronting power hungry leadership and complex socio-political tensions, the global community watches and waits. Ground invasion and the startling aftermath of dropped bombs consume our collective conscious. War brings heightened anxieties and unanswered questions; it leaves people displaced and refugees fleeing. 

The journeys of our refugee siblings are filled with uncertainty.  They  scramble to get out of harm’s way and wonder if they’ll ever return home. There is no easy way to leave your life behind, but the continued conflict and destruction make their risky choices the only choices. 

There are so many causalities in war, not just the dead, but those whose old selves die with forced new beginnings. Sometimes the journeys make way for better opportunities and fresh starts. Some still long and hope for what was. As you journey through your life – where there are ebbs and flows – remember our siblings whose futures are forced.  Pray that war and involuntary displacement may cease. 

Discussion Questions

  • What does home mean to you? 
  • Do you know anyone who is a refugee? Ask them to tell you their story– then listen. 

Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Luke 13:31-35

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

When we encounter Jesus in our reading for today, some Jewish religious officials approach him. In their haste they warn Jesus that Herod is after him, with plans to kill him. Jesus responds calmly; he is in the middle of something. Jesus’ focus cannot be on Herod’s death dealing ways because he has things to do. He is casting out demons and curing sickness.  He doesn’t have time to think about what might befall him; that’s for the third day. 

In scripture the third day often denotes the day of completion, most notably the day on which Jesus arose. Herod must wait, plotting and planning, but the time will come when Jesus makes his way to his ending. The Lord issues a bold reply, “I’ll be there – you and I both know a prophet must not be killed outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the city that stones those promised to it and kills those who prophecy from its towers. Sweet Jerusalem, how I long to hold the city’s heart in sweet embrace.’

 Jesus continues, giving one of the most vivid descriptions of his love for the people – pining and promising to protect the people of Jerusalem like a mother hen protects her brood, sheltered in huge wings. The city, however, is not willing to be held in this way. Jesus cannot and will not return until the road is prepared. When all is ready the city will shout “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” 

During Lent we follow the path set out by Jesus long ago, to do the most good we can with the time that we have. There will be a time for Herod, for work, for returning, and for the hard stuff.  But in these 40 days, we are called to give of ourselves, to help those in need, to give glory to God always, and to allow ourselves to be sheltered under the wings of God. We are active participants on the journey of faith– accompanying Jesus to be present with those in need– until the very end. 

Discussion Questions

  • What do you think Jesus means when he calls Herod a fox?
  • What good will you do during these 40 days?
  • How have you been sheltered under Jesus’ “wings”?

Activity Suggestions

  • Make a list of 3 things you can do for yourself, 3 things you can do for others, and 3 things you can do for creation during this Lenten Season
  • Research the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and pray for safety peace among all people
  • Set boundaries for yourself to prevent burn out and exhaustion
  • Find a comfy spot, take a deep breath and listen to One Love/ People get ready by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Closing Prayer

Holy God, you call us to lay down our arms and pick up peace. We continue to pray for Ukraine, The Holy Lands of Israel and Palestine, and all those who are in harm’s way or under attack. As we walk the Lenten path which Jesus walked towards the bitter end, be near us, comfort us, and guide us in the way you would have us go. When it is finished, reunite us with all your saints in the heavenly place. In your sons holy and matchless name, we pray. Amen