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Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

 Monday 27 March25

The Collect for next  Sunday affirms, at its most basic, that by the death and resurrection of Jesus the world has been delivered and saved and that by faith in that we may triumph. We speak, as Christians, quite a lot about being saved, but saved from what, delivered from what?

There’s no magic here, in the sense of a quick fix. God in Jesus waves no magic wand that once upon a time put everything right, allowing us to get on with it, all freshly polished as it were. The reality is that the world, you and I, every moment in fact, needs delivery: delivery from all that runs contrary to that which we see and understand about God in Jesus. And if Jesus’ death means anything, it means that this delivery is costly and sacrificial. Saving the world is a moment by moment commitment to be the presence of Jesus for each other and for the world in all our circumstances, all our days.

Question: How am I involved in the process of sacrifice and the  saving of the world today?

Prayer: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” – Teresa of Avila.

Ultimately, It is the day by day, moment by moment sacrifice of every one of us that saves and delivers this beautiful but broken world.

 

Value

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

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Saturday 25th March

The reading from Ephesians invites us to look at life in a different way. There is a command to turn away from works of darkness, but no particular interest in the details.

The interesting thing is what it means to live as children of the light. At the centre of the story of Samuel is God: to whom Samuel is dedicated. At the centre of the story of the blind man is Jesus, who brings healing and with that healing a challenge to conventional piety and an invitation to look at life differently.

Where Jesus offers the blind man his sight. He offers each of us this capacity: to perceive things his way, God’s way, seeing life as gift and as opportunity.

Thoughts and Prayer: So let us pray for that capacity for ourselves: to look at the world with God’s eyes: interested, loving and appreciating the value of our lives and of those among whom we live.

 

Transformed

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

Friday 24th March

The disciples dismissed the blind man  (at least at first) as just an ex23ample of some rigid moral rule. As the story goes on it becomes clear that this is not a man to be dismissed, His response to Jesus is straightforward and insightful. His responses to the religious authorities who grill him is brave – not to say a touch  impertinent. This man has met Jesus and had his whole life  transformed and he is such a positive presence in this story: not some pious shadow, but wholly alive.

Thoughts and Prayer: Pray today for fullness of life: for yourself, for those close to you and for other people too: the capacity to live with joy and in the middle of life with all that it brings

 

Bringing Life

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

22

 

Thursday 23rd March 

 

As the week moves on, let us turn our attention to the gospel reading and today we will think about the blind man. He  has always been blind and he has to beg to make a living.

 

 The disciples notice him, not because they feel sorry for him but because  he provokes a  debating point: they want to know who to blame for the blindness: the man himself or his parents. the disciples prefer a moral universe where  bad things only happen to people who deserve them.

 

 Jesus will have none of this. Neither the man nor his parents sinned.  This is a situation in  which God is at work and through which something of God’s glory will be seen.

 

 Thoughts and Prayer: Reflect on your own life:  the highs and the lows, your strengths and your weaknesses.  None of this prevents God working in you and through you. So in prayer bring your life to God.

 

 

 

Words and Meaning

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

21

Wednesday 22nd March

As a small child Samuel was given to God:           a small number of words, carrying a lot of meaning : both pain and promise. Just as there was a heavy cost for Hannah, so there was for Samuel too. Samuel grew up with Eli, seeing his parents only once a year and he became, as Hannah had intended a servant of God: assisting Eli in his work and later having a prophetic role in the whole nation. But in the story we read this week, Samuel was a small child removed from the familiar and put down somewhere new with people he had never met. At this point the situation doesn’t look promising.

Thoughts and Prayer: So today take time to pray for children who have been left: separated from parents: for refugees and for children whose parents can’t look after them. And pray also for the Elis: foster carers and others looking after children.

 

Hannah

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

Tuesday 21st March 20

 

Hannah had longed for a child for a very long time. She had prayed desperately in her distress. Finally her prayers were answered   and she had a son, Samuel. But this story doesn’t end there. When Samuel is weaned Hannah takes him and leaves him with Eli,  a priest at Shiloh, a holy place ; Samuel’s life would be dedicated to God’s service. This goes well beyond the ‘letting go’ that all parents need to do when their children  grow up. This is not just a happy ever after story: and though the particular circumstances are very unusual, the experiences & emotions are common.

 

 Thoughts and Prayer: Spend some moments holding before God in prayer those who long for children and for those separated from their children  for whatever reason

 

 

 

 

Mothering

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

19

Monday 20th March

During this week we are looking towards the 4th Sunday of Lent, though most of us will know it best as Mothering Sunday. Though traditionally a (rare) Sunday off when domestic servants were allowed to travel home to their ‘mother church’, Mothering Sunday has become a day when we celebrate motherhood and show our loving     appreciation of our own mothers.

But with the gratitude and joy Mothering Sunday can also be a difficult day, for those grieving lost loved ones or those who have known pain and difficulty in their family life. Next Sunday’s readings from1 Samuel and from John’s Gospel take us into the pains as well as the joys of human families, into the realities of the world in which we try to follow Jesus.

Thoughts and Prayer: Read these passages slowly then pray – for our own families and for families we know, bringing both gratitude & grief to God.