Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel
by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
Pastor will be preaching on Mark 14: 12-72. It's the first part of the Passion Story that we'll be hearing again during Holy Week. We'll hear about the Last Supper and the wait in the garden and the trial.
It's a nice complement to the lectionary readings for this Sunday:
First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Gospel: John 3:14-21
It's interesting to think about which parts of these stories speak most to us. Are we people who seek comfort in the Eucharist, the sacrament that comes out of the Last Supper? What do we do with the cross that will be coming?
Do we flagellate ourselves with this story? Some traditions would tell us, again and again, that it's because of our wretched, sinful selves that Jesus had to go through all of his trials and tortures.
But it's easy to get lost in self-loathing. It's easy to tell ourselves that Jesus, perfect Jesus, had to go through much for our redemption, and we're not worth it, and we're not even able to keep up with our Lenten disciplines, and . . . once we're in that downward spiral, who knows where we'll land.
We shouldn't lose sight of the Gospel message that lies behind the Passion Week story, the Gospel message so neatly summarized in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Today, let us focus on the Good News that reminds us that God doesn't enter the world to condemn us--many pop culture preachers forget that. But almost every verse of our Gospels reminds us that God comes to us out of love, not judgment. God comes, not to cast us into darkness. Most of us spend many hours dwelling in darkness. God comes to lead us into the light.
Our world is desperately in need of the light that Christians can provide. We live in a world of rampant Capitalism, which is doing a wide range of harm. The world needs our message of something that is more vital, something that is more important than making money and buying more stuff. We can be the lighthouses that lead people to safer shores.