March 19, 2019: Taking Turns This Lent: Turn Away

road with yellow lines

Second Sunday in Lent

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Lent is not often pictured as a race, but these words from Hebrews fit well with some of the ways we talk about the season. Lent is the season to look to Jesus once again, to refocus on him and the cross that he took up. It is the season of repentance, or in other words, a time to get back on track and turn again to the ways of discipleship. So as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” on this Lenten track, this bulletin back series will encourage us to take many “turns” along the way to be closer to the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

As this gospel passage begins, Jesus is making his way toward Jerusalem, teaching as he goes from one town to the next. Some Pharisees head him off and tell him not to go any farther on account of Herod, who is determined to stop Jesus from undermining his power. Like Herod, there are plenty of powerful and self-reliant people in Jerusalem who do not want to hear Jesus say things like the first shall be last and the last shall be first in the kingdom of God. After initially being angry, Jesus laments that so many in Jerusalem would rather turn away from God’s protection and rely on their own strength.

How can we take this turn?

How have we turned away Jesus in our lives? What false securities and idols do we need to turn away from? Whom do we need to forgive for turning away from us? Whom do we need to seek forgiveness from for our turning away from them? What troubles or circumstances do we wish to turn away from, and how might Jesus be present with us in that?

Dan Miller, pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania