Monday of the Third Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
What are you thirsty for?
The Psalmist writes and sings about thirsting for God. Did you catch that? Thirsty… for God. Longing for God’s presence, protection, and guidance like a pilgrim in the desert longs for cool water. It was as if the poet’s only nourishment had been from tears, to the point that people noticed and scoffed, “where is your God when you need him?”
After praying for God to send light and truth in to such a troubling situation, we find the Psalmist approaching God in worship. It is with joy and praise that the singer recognizes God at work and claims a personal relationship: “I will praise my God!”
What are you looking for?
Naaman, the army general who had been victorious against Israel, sought healing – for clear skin and full inclusion in family and community. He had nowhere to turn. But a young girl, an Israelite slave in Naaman’s household knew who to call: Elisha, the prophet of God. So Naaman asked his boss for letters of introduction in Israel and set out seeking a cure.
After initially ridiculing the bizarre remedy recommended by the prophet, Naaman followed Elisha’s instructions and immediately was cured of leprosy. I think he got more than he expected, however. When he saw his soft, clear skin, Naaman recognized the powerful presence of The One, of God. It is no longer “Elisha’s God,” but I think Naaman begins a personal relationship with God.
What are you open to? Will you recognize God at work?
One Sabbath in Nazareth, the Jewish people went to synagogue like always, to worship and pray and hear the word of the Lord. Some of them may have even been praying for God to do a new thing, eager for Messiah to come and change life under the thumb of the Roman Empire. They recognized Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, and welcomed him to serve as scripture reader of the day.
Then, instead of sitting back down in the congregation, Jesus took on the role of teaching rabbi and implied that the prophet Isaiah had been talking about him and that the much anticipated “year of the Lord’s favor” was beginning.
Now it was as if they no longer recognized him. What was he talking about?
Jesus realized the temperature in the room was changing and reminded them of the other prophets who had been rejected at home. He even recalled the story of Naaman (yes the same Naaman we began with today!), but emphasized the fact that Naaman was not an Israelite, that God’s spirit was not poured out on the so-called “children of God” but on perhaps the least likely character in the Israelite story.
In these days of Lent, may you be open to God at work in you in a very personal way – quenching your thirst, answering your quest, guiding your steps, calling you to something new and miraculous.
Rev. Leslie Limbaugh is Minister of Students and Communication at Third Baptist Church in Grand Center.