March 14, 2016
Daily Scripture Readings for Lent 2016
Last year (March 25, 2015) I shared the following devotion. It doesn’t seem to me much has changed. Whether its worth saying again or not, its still what I think. Dan
And so it begins. Someone announces their candidacy for office and immediately promises, claims, and counterclaims begin to fill the airwaves. We are overwhelmed with news reports, commentaries, blogs, Facebook posts, and twitter tweets.
Information overload. Who do you believe? What statements can you verify? Whose voice do you trust? And so it begins. Or does it never seem to really end?
I think its terribly frustrating to feel caught between either believing everything that comes down the pike or being completely cynical and suspicious about everyone and everything we hear. Is our only choice naivete or cynicism?
In the passage from John’s gospel, Jesus says that like sheep we have to be careful not to follow bandits, thieves, and strangers. Sheep know the difference between the voice of their shepherd and a stranger. But John says that people had a hard time understanding what Jesus was saying. Jesus says that like sheep we have to be careful to guard against those who want to hurt us. “I am the good shepherd,” Jesus said. “I lay down my life for the sheep.”
But we aren’t sheep. How do we pick out the voice of the Good Shepherd amid all of the dangerous and deceptive voices we hear around us today? How do you know what or who is truthful and who isn’t? Who do you believe when they start off by saying, “Jesus says…..”.
One of the things Lent should help us consider, especially as we move into the remembrance of Holy Week’s events, is how do we clearly hear Jesus’ voice today?
How do we discern Jesus’ words to us?
Based on today’s passages from Romans and John, here are some guides.
- Listen for the words of peace. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”
- Watch for the ways of self giving sacrifice. “I lay my life down for the sheep.”
- Ask if there is room for the “others”. Jesus said, “I have other sheep not of this fold. I must bring them also.”
- Hold on to unity. Jesus said, “So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Paul said, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Christ does speak to us today – with words and gifts of peace, sacrifice, welcome, and the promise of unity.
Prayer: Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of your tone, as you have sought, so let me seek you erring children, lost and lone.