Lent: 3rd Sunday

"From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
'Peace, peace,' they say,
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,"
says the LORD. (Jeremiah 6:13-15)

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Jesus...said, "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. (Mark 5:19-20)

This past week I was struck by the strong words of Jeremiah. His prophetic words were directed at the greedy class and the nation as a whole. The words are rather hard to hear for an American. At the same time I hear the calming voice of the psalmist and I am reminded of God's preference for those often oppressed by greedy and deceitful individuals and haughty nations. With whom do I identify? Paul's words remind me that God is an equitable God, judging both Jew and Gentile alike, redeeming all by grace and faith, en-Spiriting all, showing mercy to all. No one is their own. Finally, the words of the evangelists do what good words of evangelists should do; they recall the good news. When taken together these Lenten readings speak the good news to each of us. Ought we to be amazed? How can we not be?

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