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 four.
Lent Week Four: Jesus the Beloved
March 27th – April 2nd
Matthew 12:18 says, “‘Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”
This scripture recalls Isaiah 42, a proclamation of hope to a post-exilic people who were upset with God. They had lost faith after the Babylonian exile. They felt defeated and abandoned by God. The people were weary and questioning the power and presence of divine love in their lives. I believe the writer of Matthew borrowed this scripture from Isaiah because the people he was writing to struggled with the same feelings and questions, and he wanted to give them hope.
Year two of a world-wide pandemic has made a lot of us weary. As we approach another Easter in pandemic times, it is difficult to revel in hope when the world in front of us feels more hopeless. We have not cured the deadly virus. We cannot agree on protocols and procedures to keep one another safe. The thought of not being able to sing or hug one another on Easter morning is depressing. Our ears are rubbed raw from masks. Online worship has become background noise. The complaints go on and on. Meanwhile, the grief and death are real. There are empty pews with shadows of the sick still cast upon them. Their seats still warm and their memory still very present.
We are a lot like the people Isaiah & Matthew were speaking to: hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. What does God’s beloved have for those of us living in this reality? We are given a promise of divine love and accompaniment. Jesus will continue to proclaim justice and persist in the struggle with us. We have a God who loves us so much that we are promised a kind of love that dives into the deep with us. Emmanuel. So, while there is not a solution or a band-aid to heal this wound, we are reminded of a God who has loved us enough to endure struggles with us. AND, our savior is the beloved who will persist until justice is victorious!
May your weary hearts find hope as the beloved persists.
Author: Rev. Kristin Wolf Peters
Upper Midwest Region
Week Four: Reflections
- What deep grief have you felt because the pandemic?
- How has your hope been affected by our new realities?
- Can you sense God accompanying you? How? When?
- Name previous struggles you have endured and overcome with God’s persisting love?