Contributed by Bob Chell, Brookings, SD


Warm-up Question

What would you like to be remembered for when you die?

Remembering Lloyd

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 Discussion Questions

  • What question would you want to ask Lloyd about his life?
  • What in Lloyd’s life sounds challenging and rewarding?
  • What in Lloyd’s life sounds boring and unimportant?
  • What in your life is challenging and rewarding?
  • What in your life is boring and unimportant?
  • What does it mean to be saved now, today?

Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, March 18, 2012 (Fourth Sunday in Lent)

Numbers 21:4-9

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 3:14-21

(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

The first time I met Lloyd I had trouble understanding him. He talked quickly and his stroke made his words a mumble to me. I didn’t connect him with Pedro and Anna for months. Anna was a graduate student at the university. Pedro, and their son, Lwin, seemed to be walking every time I drove anywhere, to the school, to the park, to the store. When both our children won Radio Flyer wagons in the local radio station’s Christmas promotion they wanted to give one to Lwin. We delivered it to the apartment they shared with Lloyd. That’s when I made the connection.

The apartment was not small. It was tiny. It was clearly meant for one. I didn’t want to be nosy and never asked, but I suspect Lloyd  slept on the couch, while his long term guests had the bedroom. Whatever the arrangements, it was clear that with his meager income, Lloyd had welcomed a family into his life as well as his home.

Our gospel lesson is so familiar it sometimes seems to have lost it’s power to break through the routine of our lives to shape and change them. Someone once told me that anywhere the Bible says ‘believe’ you can substitute the word ‘trust.’ I like the truth that doing this reveals. I live in the Upper Midwest where an unusually warm winter has left the ice on lakes and rivers unsafe. You can stand on the shore and determine whether you believe the ice can hold your weight but it’s an entirely different matter to take the first step trusting it will sustain your weight.

Lloyd lived this truth, trusting in God’s promises, not only for him but for all people.  In trusting he took the hands of others, inviting them to join him in trusting God’s promises to undergird, support, and sustain them.

Discussion Questions

  • The gospel also talks about being condemned. What does that mean for our lives now? Does it mean forever?
  • Who is the Lloyd in your life, who quietly lives trust in God’s promises?
  • When were you ‘Lloyd’ for another–listening, helping, or encouraging someone?
  • How does your experience illustrate what Jesus meant when he said; “…those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:24)

Activity Suggestions

  • Write a thank you note to the “Lloyd” in your life telling them why you see them as inspirational.
  • Determine a time or place this week where you can be a “Lloyd” for someone. Give it a try and talk next week about how that experience went (and what it means if it went terribly, as some are bound to)!
  • If you are reading and discussing this in a group, determine how you can be a “Lloyd” in your congregation, school or other setting

Closing Prayer

God, you have gifted us with many things and we take your greatest gifts for granted, the gifts of life and loving friends and family. Thank you for those people who “get us” and understand what it means to struggle with pain and problems. Turn us away from our own struggles so that we recognize the pain of others and reach out to them in encouraging support.  We pray in Jesus name, Amen.