Taste and see: the long road home

Lynton path

Sunday was the 4th Sunday of Lent, and Laetare Sunday. It invited us to a joyful celebration of the faithfulness of God and encouraged us to renew our trust in God.

Two of the prayers proper to the day give particular expression to this and asks God for continued help and care in these final days of Lent.

First is the Collect prayer which concluded the Introductory Rites.

O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The second was the (optional) concluding Prayer over the People, asking for God’s continued support.

Look upon those who call to you, O Lord,
and sustain the weak;
give life by your unfailing light
to those who walk in the shadow of death,
and bring those rescued by your mercy from every evil
to reach the highest good.

Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

These prayers rehearse us in the sometimes resisted attitudes of asking for help, of expressing our neediness, and placing our trust in God.

  • For what in particular do you want to ask for help?
  • What are your particular needs (that maybe as yet you have not asked for help with)
  • If you can, why can you put your trust in God? And, if you can”t, what makes you hesitate?

Path and bench. Lynton. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Even to warn us

Judean Desert nr St George's Monastery

The Second reading at Mass tomorrow comes from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. Paul reflects back on Israel’s experience of journeying through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land, during the Exodus, and what Christians might learn from this.

I want to remind you, brothers, how our fathers were all guided by a cloud above them and how they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in this cloud and in this sea; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they all drank from the spiritual rock that followed them as they went, and that rock was Christ. In spite of this, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.

These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain: some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.

All this happened to them as a warning, and it was written down to be a lesson for us who are living at the end of the age. The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.

1 Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12

The Destroyer is the destroying angel who carries out God’s punishment in Exodus, the slaying of the first-born of Egypt.

However we understand that, and however we understand the warning here, it is presented as a matter of life and death. We are offered life and urged not, instead, to choose death.

We presently make our journey through Lent, a season given us to help us consider how we make our journey through life.

  • Let us notice the choices we make and the choices we refuse.
  • Where are they leading us?
  • What would be the best choices we could make? Why might we not make them?
  • Ask the Lord to send his Spirit to help you in your following of Christ.

The Judean desert, near St George’s Monastery. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.