Sunday 18th March (Lent 4B)

On this coming Sunday we rejoice: the readings centre on God’s grace in the midst of suffering and brokenness. In the wilderness the Israelites, impatient and cranky with God, saw nothing in which to rejoice. They complained about their circumstance, unsure of their destination. Their impatience led them to distrust God and Moses; they refused to recognise God’s graciousness toward them.

For all our supposed 21st century sophistication there are some striking similarities with the ragtag wilderness people, not the least of which is that we also are “on the way”. But what is our destination? Where are we headed? Mostly, if we do know, it’s only in the most general, perhaps abstract, terms. Our lack of knowledge requires of us an openness and patience. Our journey takes patience and grace. Yet there are times when we impatiently want to press “Fast Forward”.

Patience is a hard discipline. Patience asks us simply to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present in the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are, to engage in what really matters in life, unconcerned with whether the future will bring better or worse times.

In our journey towards Easter it’s easy to lose sight of the Cross, obscured by merchandise in the shops, by the catalogues stuffed into mail-boxes, advertising on TV; all projecting confused messages rushing us to Easter.

There is no “Fast Forward” button.
There is no life without death.
There is no Easter without Good Friday.
There is no resurrection without crucifixion.
… as Moses lifted up the serpent,
so too must the Son of Man be lifted up.

This is how God loved the world:
he gave his only Son,
so that the world may have life,
life in all its fullness.
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.  More for Lent 4B…