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Lent Week Three: Jesus the Son

By Rev. Dr. Deenabandhu Manchala - Sunday March 20, 2022

For the season of Lent this year, we will be following along with the Disciples Home Missions (DHM) Lenten Resource.  The complete booklet and previous DHM resources can be downloaded at https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/congregations/faith-formationchristian-education/resources/lent/

Below is the meditation and reflection questions for week three.


 

Week Three: Jesus the Son

March 20th - 26th


“Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”


“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred…. Or we can walk through lightly, …ready to imagine another world”, writes Arundhati Roy, a well-known Indian public intellectual.


Lent meditations amidst the pandemic must focus on long cherished beliefs that guide our lives and attitudes. One such is ‘Jesus as the Son of God’. Acknowledged by all three gospels as the “Beloved Son of God” at baptism and transfiguration and confessed by the Church for generations, this title seems fundamental to the affirmations of Jesus as God’s self-revelation and as a part of the Trinity, besides the consequent sinlessness that makes his act of salvation from sins possible. But this Jesus comes to us as a male, as a ‘Son’ of an often referred to male, God the ‘Father’.


Such imagery in most religious traditions continues to sustain and legitimize structures and cultures of domination and discrimination. Caste and patriarchy are two such that dehumanize millions in my country India. Women continue to be exposed to different forms of violation and violence – from birth to death. So are the Dalits, the social outcastes, shunned and humiliated because they are considered as low born. Blatant abuse and marginalization of people from certain locations and identities, and bald-faced assertions of power and privilege continue to feature our world despite the pandemic making all of us vulnerable. Sadly, some religious institutions and their expressions too seem to endorse this immorality.


In such a world where identities bestow or deny privilege and opportunities, an intentional focus on actions rather than affirmations might help us reclaim our faith afresh beyond the contours of doctrine and tradition. “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” (Matt.11:19), quips Jesus. Through his identification with those who are marginalized and excluded, Jesus indicts the forces that deny and destroy life. These (referred to as ‘her’) deeds of wisdom liberate and transform lives and situations.


Elsewhere, he defines his identity through his vocation: ‘the son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10: 45) Amidst the common and popular divine attributes – power and glory, Jesus the son of man offers a glimpse of God as one who serves, nurtures and cares for life - attributes often considered feminine.


In a world that privileges some on account of their power, wealth and identities, here is one – a symbol and presence of God at the margins turning the world upside down, birthing a new creation, and a new order that seeks to make the promise of salvation real to all of God’s creation. We cannot miss this counter-cultural and ongoing character of God’s salvation at this time of Lent.


Author: Rev. Dr. Deenabandhu Manchala
Area Executive for Southern Asia. Global Ministries
United Church of Christ and the Disciples Church (Christian Church), Cleveland, Ohio

 


Week Three: Reflections

  1. How does your name offer you a sense of belonging?


  2. How does your name offer you privilege?


  3. How does your identity purpose you to care for others like Jesus did?


  4. How do you understand Jesus to be counter-cultural?


 



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