Presumably our Lenten journey is our own chance, like Jesus, to spend 40 days in the wilderness, getting lost, being challenged, doing ‘without’ in order to become more self-aware and draw closer to Godself. Today’s word is LAND, which invites us to think about the place where we find ourselves making this spiritual pilgrimage, or to consider the physical reality in which we work, play, study and live day-to-day.
Some of the text dwells on the land as the time and place where we live right now. To be sure, we are beings connected to history, geography, society and other influences.
Some passages consider how the land was stressed by overuse by its inhabitants. Later God says the land is being given into Israel’s care. Both of these passages imply an ethical need for care and conservation for creation; humans are profoundly responsible for our way of living on this earth.
Finally, Paul talks about letting go of everything else, and discovering his ‘place’ within Christ, or of finding Christ within himself. He seeks to become an inhabitant of God’s kingdom, and also finds God’s kingdom within himself.
Isn’t it interesting to consider that the site of our spiritual pilgrimage isn’t just the time and geography in which we live right now, but the mortal flesh, the human bodies, that we inhabit? We have the same ethical connection to our own bodies, as we do to the rest of creation. We’re invited to pause and realize that we’re called to care and conserve our bodies, as we do for the land.
Excerpts from today’s lectionary texts:
- Psalm 27:13 — I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
- Genesis 13:5-6 — Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together.
- Genesis 13:14-15 — The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring[a]
- Genesis 13:17 –Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
- Phillippians 3:12 — Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
- Phillippians 3:8 — More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him …