Abstract and Theme-
We live in a world and culture of broken promises and relationships. Broken families, friendships, marriages, relationships with co-workers… It happens in our schools, neighborhoods, homes, government, and our churches. As we move into a culture that has found itself living into the idea of expressive individualism and “my truth,” how does this inform the way we understand Scripture? The lens that used to serve as a norm has been altered in such a way that we struggle to make sense of things.
As Bishop John Bradosky writes: “What happens in many of those situations when someone offends us? We quickly end the relationship, neglect the person, ignore them, say negative things about them to others. Some suggest if the relationship requires any effort, ‘if it is this difficult it can’t be healthy,’ so any extra effort is wasted. We treat things in this world, treasures, and people, as though they are disposable. We use people and relationships for our own gratification, and when they no longer please us, we walk away. It is the norm for the world, and since so many people function this way, we feel justified in treating others the same way we feel we are treated.”
As we journey together through this Lenten season, we will strive to lean into the truth that God always keeps His promises. “A covenant is the way in which the Bible describes and defines relationship: first our relationship with God and then our relationship with everyone else.”2 As we walk through the Old Testament Scripture passages laid out for us in the lectionary, each one shares about another covenant, or promise, that God has made to His people. As we grow in relationship with God, learning that we can truly trust Him to keep His promises, how will that affect our own identity and the way we live into relationship with other people?
We can only really begin to understand the idea of a covenant “when we understand the value that God has placed on relationships. We were created to be in a relationship with God and with one another. Sin always corrupts and destroys those relationships. The witness of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is that God has never given up on restoring those relationships, through his covenants, his life-giving love and ultimately in giving his only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord who gave us life on the cross to pay the price for our complete forgiveness. Through faith in Jesus and all that He accomplished for us, we are in a right relationship with both the Father and the Son. You matter infinitely to God! You are of infinite worth and value. This infinite God entered our world in Jesus Christ and this same infinite Lord gave his life for you and me. He died the death we deserve to die so that we might live through faith in Him. Jesus gave it all for this relationship with us.”3
Week 1: Gen. 22:1–18, Psalm 25:1–10, Mark 1:9–15
Week 2: Gen. 17:1–7, 15–16, Psalm 22:23–31, Mark 8:27–38
Week 3: Ex. 20:1–17, Psalm 19, John 2:13–22 (23–25)
Week 4: Num. 21:4–9 , Psalm 107:1–9 John 3:14–21, Ephesians 2:1-10
Week 5: Jer. 31:31–3, Psalm 119:9–16 Mark 10:(32–34) 35–45
Palm Sunday: Zech. 9:9–12, Heb. 4:14–16; 5:7–9 , Psalm 22 or 31, Mark 14:1— 15:47 or Mark 15:1–47 or John 12:20–43 or Mark 11:1-11
*Bolded Scripture passage is the primary text of the day.
2Mike Breen: Covenant and Kingdom – the DNA of the Bible
3Bishop John Bradosky: The Nature of Christian Relationships – Fair or Unfair Has Nothing to Do With It