By Carolyn Nilson
Psalm 31: 9-16, Isaiah 54: 9-10, Hebrews 2: 10-18
This reading from Psalm 31 hopes to assure those who acknowledge their sins, whether great or small, that God is merciful and will make His face shine upon them. The reading is especially significant to us here in 2013 to realize that this Psalm was written many years before Christ was born, and that this Lenten Devotional is being written after Christ’s crucifixion and rise from the tomb. Surely for Christians, this reading has meaning for each of us who recognizes and confesses our own sins, great and small. This reading from Psalm 31 is good preparation for each of us to truly understand what Lenten devotion means.
This second Old Testament reading is from the book of Isaiah, with reference to Noah’s flood, a worldwide catastrophe at that time that seemed to force the community of believers to search for understanding of God’s mercy. In this passage, the Lord said to these believers that His mercy would prevail even if the mountains departed and the hills were removed: that is, even in potential future natural hazards-like Noah’s flood-the Lord’s covenant of peace with believers would never be removed. The drama of destruction in the world around us portrayed in these two verses is meant to deeply and vitally remind us of God’s unconditional mercy.
The last reading is a New Testament reading from Hebrews, in which the apostle Paul is speaking to his followers. Here Paul speaks to an assembled group and implores them tospread the good word to their children and future generations. Paul preaches to his followers about the incarnation of Jesus-as the seed of Abraham, not of angels– and tries to explain that because Jesus suffered as humans suffer, He is truly able to understand us in all our temptations and ease the way to our reconciliation with God.
God, most merciful, be ever with us on our life journey. Help us to develop stronger relationships with You through better understanding and trust in Jesus. May we continue to learn the wide breadth and depth of Your care for us, and to magnify Your splendor in all our work on earth. Amen