Speak Lord: the gift of newness

slaveOn the 5th Sunday of Lent in Year B, the readings focus on renewal, newness achieved in the fulfilment of the purpose of the ‘old’, the seed germinating and producing its promised harvest.

As we enter the last stage of Lent, looking to the Lord, mindful of our incapacities and his readiness to make good for us, there is great hope and encouragement here.

The sequence of readings for Year A culminate in the great story of the raising of Lazarus – a powerful iteration of the theme. This sequence is available for use in any Year of the 3-year Lectionary cycle, and is required to be used when the 3rd scrutiny is celebrated. (The first reading of the sequence appears at the end of this post.)

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master. It is the Lord who speaks. No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know the Lord!’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest – it is the Lord who speaks – since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The love and the trust of the Lord is betrayed again and again. And again and again he shows love and trust by extending his mercy and forgiveness and inviting us back to wholeness and communion.

  • Where is your communion with the Lord weakest?
  • And with your brothers and sisters, your neighbours most fragile?
  • Pray for healing and wholeness as you continue, by the Lord’s grace, to travel to Easter glory, Easter joy.

Photograph of carving of slave/prisoner by Michelangelo, Louvres, Paris. (c) 2011, Allen Morris.

– – –

The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.

Ezekiel 37:12-14