This week in our readings we start to see a shift in our Lenten journey. Before last week, the lectionary has us looking at our lives, inwardly looking at our own conscious, and focusing on preparing ourselves for the sacrifice of Good Friday. Most of the events in these passages are in the first year and a half of Jesus’ ministry on Earth. But now, after rejoicing and taking a breather, we shift our journey toward that of the cross.
Having spent the majority of my childhood until I was about 17 in a reformed tradition, this shift brings back memories, and with it as a preacher the temptation to focus entirely on the sacrifice of the cross. But, if we focus on that too early, then it takes the power out of the experiences of Maundy Thursday, and the resurrection. You will get burned out on it! Trust me I GET the power of the cross.
But instead, we should focus on the message of what the cross was. An act of love. It was an act of love for Jesus to be on the cross for us. So in these final 4 weeks of Lent, I challenge all of you to look at the acts of love in Jesus’ journey to the cross.
This weeks readings, he saves a woman, whom we do not even know if she was guilty of what she was accused of, being drug to a street and stoned to death. Remember, in this society she didn’t have to necessarily be a willing participant in a sexual act to have this punishment, she just needed to be unmarried and accused of not being virginal. So this final act of non judgment, and telling us to look not at others faults, while on the surface is the Lenten message. The real message of it all is to understand where people are at, and love them as they find their way.
If we do that, then Jesus death was worth it. Because the world will remember the act of Love, and not just remember in thought, but by being the one who was on that cross.