Showing posts from February, 2008

3 Lent Year A

The story of the Samaritan Woman, the Woman at the Well, is one of those stories that I think we’ve heard many times. But each time I hear it, I hear it new, something different makes sense to me. This is a story that incorporates one of the most powerful forces we know as humans, water. Water invokes life, and death. Water invokes washing and baptism. Water invokes peace and power. Water, when absent leads to thirst, when present too much, leads to flood and drowning.

So imagine the day of this encounter we heard from John’s gospel. High noon, in the desert. The sun was bearing down on the dry, arid ground. A Jewish man sits at the well, he is terribly thirsty, his throat is dry and parched; he has just arrived at this well after walking miles in the desert. He sits at the well, but does not have a bucket or dipper to get any water.

She arrives, bucket on her head, dipper in her hand, a Samaritan woman. She had spent her morning cooking over an outdoor fire, and washing clothes in her …

2 Lent Yr A

Nicodemus asks the question every one of us asks, or wants to ask anyway, “How can these things be?” Nicodemus was a man of the Pharisee sect; he was a prominent leader of the Jews. And yet, late in the cover of night, he went to Jesus to find out the truth. How can these things be, he asked. How can you be the Son of Man Jesus? How can you turn water into wine? How can you say we must be born again, we are born only once. How can these things be?

You and I live in a world of reason and science. We live in a world where we spend much time and energy on finding the explanation, testing the hypothesis, repeating the experiment to see if we can get the same results many many times. This is a fine world; it’s a world of question and answer, a world of fact and proof. But side by side with the world of reason and science is the world of narrative, the world of story. Who you are today has everything to do with how you were formed, and who formed you. It has everything to do with the people …

1 Lent Yr A

Well here it is the first Sunday of lent, and we have readings full of temptation and evil and sin. I don’t know how we can even get a good start on Lent when we have those three hanging over our heads already. But, it is a very good beginning place, the wilderness. It is a good place for us to begin Lent.

In the gospel of Matthew, this story of Jesus and Satan takes place at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. This story happens just after Jesus is baptized, and the spirit of God descended like a dove, and all the witnesses heard the voice from heaven say, “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Just after that Jesus is led into the wilderness by that same spirit, fasts for 40 days and 40 nights, and along comes that devil.

What is it that happens here? I think an important key to understanding this wilderness experience of Jesus’ is in the words of the tempter. First, the tempter twice calls into question Jesus’ relationship to God his father. “If…