AM Psalm 95 [for the Invitatory] 102; PM Psalm 107:1-32
Exodus 2:1-22; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3; Mark 9:2-13
Come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,
and kneel before the LORD our Maker.
– Psalm 95:1, 6
Writing a Lenten Reflection in the midst of Advent seems rather strange. But should it? As Psalm 95 tells us, we are called to bow down in worship, kneel before the Lord, and sing for joy before the Lord. We are called to listen to His voice and to offer obedience with our lives. In the tradition I grew up in, we used this psalm during the lighting of the Shepherds’ candle (the third Advent candle) because of the reference to God being like a shepherd and we being his flock. It reminds us of whose we are!
Billy Graham once said that for Christmas to have meaning, it cannot be separated from the cross. Indeed, before His death, Jesus Himself said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world” (John 18:37). “He was the only person in history who was born with the purpose of dying” (Graham). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).
Listening to carols and their texts gives one pause. Several mention the purpose of Jesus’ birth: “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice”; “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”; “The Holly and the Ivy,” and one of my favorites, “Mary, Did You Know.” This one contains the line, “The child that you delivered will soon deliver you.” Many hymns and carols reference Jesus as our savior: one who saves, rescues, or delivers.
Jesus came into this world to save us, and he accomplished that by dying on the cross and then rising again! He laid down His life for His flock … we are His!
Thanks be to God.
- Hedy Howe