Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:22-30, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of you Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- The Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent, Jesus has this to say: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). For me these words are quite a challenge. At times it seems that if I deny myself, I will lose myself. And who will notice or care? But when I don’t deny myself, I find myself drifting away from Jesus and doing the things I don’t want to do. I am more alone and lost than ever.
That is why the Collect above is so important to me. It is a reminder and a sign of my hope. Jesus is loving and forgiving, calling us back from our selfishness. Jesus was sent to bring us the truth of God’s love and care for us, and we constantly need to be reminded of this truth. All of us stray, but Jesus never gives up on us. Jesus calls us and welcomes us back. Aren’t we blessed!
- Chuck Whitmore