Even if you don’t read any other lectionary passages during Lent, please read this week’s. I’m listing them first, before my reflection, because they are so rich and anything I say about them will be poor in comparison.
The lectionary readings for the third Sunday of Lent:
I Cor. 1:18-25
First, the Ten Commandments. Always a good reminder of God’s baseline for behavior. I have been particularly convicted of late about number 3: “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.” The ease with which I recently dropped the words “Oh my God” shocked even me. I said it in a roomful of people who aren’t Christians, and I was using God’s name to try to tell these folks, Look, I’m no different from you. But I am different. I happen to love God—a lot—and my vain use of God’s name makes me look like a hypocrite. No, it actually makes me a hypocrite. Ouch.
Next, Psalm 19, one of my favorite pieces of poetry, biblical or otherwise. You just have to read it for yourself. Go on. Get your Bible. Read.
Then 1 Corinthians 1. I have to confess, half the time I don’t have a clue what Paul is talking about. Today’s reading is no exception—until you get to the end and read this gem: “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” The lectionary ends there, but if you keep reading, you get to that great passage about God choosing the weak and the foolish and the low and the despised to accomplish the divine purpose, which I find particularly reassuring in light of a certain paragraph above.
And finally, Jesus making a whip of cords and driving out the money changers. I finished reading this passage, and all I could say was, “I love Jesus!” I do. I love Jesus. In the intellectual Christian circles I roam the edges of, saying such a thing out loud (or online) is a little gauche, awkward, embarrassing. But I can’t help it. Jesus rocks. Here is a man who knows who he is and why he’s here, and I can’t help but love that he lives into and out of his identity so fully and without apology. I want to be like that.
So, go on, if you haven’t yet, read these passages. Maybe read them every day this week. Then let them percolate in your heart, your mind, your soul as you go about doing whatever it is you do.