Spring Ahead: a Reflection on the Readings for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, 2020

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Spring Ahead: a Reflection on the Readings for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, 2020

Genesis 12:1-4A

Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

2 Timothy 1:8B-10

Matthew 17:1-9

As I reflected upon the readings for this second Sunday of Lent in anticipation of writing this reflection, I couldn’t help but also think that this was when we move our clocks ahead one hour.

By springing our clocks forward, I always think that we are anticipating summer and the delight of spring days, longing for their warmth and the extended hours of daylight. It gives me a sense of moving forward.

I also found this sense of moving forward in the readings this Second Sunday of Lent. Abram, in the first reading from Genesis, is being told by God to get moving, to go forward into the plans that have been prepared for him. God instructs Abram, “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). The Psalm imbues us with the courage and the confidence to move forward in our Lent journey because the Lord’s mercy will be with us as we trust him. The second reading from the Second Letter to Timothy lets us know that there will be hardships as we journey forward but that we need not fear because we have the strength of the Gospel and the grace of Jesus Christ to bear us up (2 Timothy 1:8).

But maybe it is the Gospel, the story of the Transfiguration, that offers the greatest sense of moving forward. We know at this point in Jesus’ ministry that he is on his way to Jerusalem and the cross. On this journey, Jesus takes the apostles Peter, James, and John up a high mountain. Anyone who has climbed a mountain or even a hill has experienced that sense of moving forward that is inescapable as one makes their way higher and higher.

After the experience of the Transfiguration, Jesus instructs the apostles to rise – in essence to get moving – and look forward to the Son of Man rising from the dead.

All this movement should lead us to think about ourselves and our own journey of faith and life. As we go through Lent this year, what are the ways God is calling us to move forward?

As individuals, we know there is always personal movement on the journey of faith. God is continually calling us forward into a future that he will show us. Sometimes, moving forward can be scary especially when we are comfortable and feel safe with where we are. Like Peter, on the Mountain of Transfiguration, we might want to pitch a tent and hunker down. We don’t want to spring forward, take those steps in faith. Even when we logically know we have to keep moving on the journey, and even when we feel the Holy Spirit within us, the thought of moving forward paralyzes us. We fear the unknown, the “what will become of me if I change this aspect of my life.” Yet, we have nothing to fear. For in Psalm 33 we learn that “The eyes of the Lord are upon us. The Lord will deliver us, preserve us, and be our shield” (Psalm 33:18-19).

So, as we go into daylight saving time, let us reflect upon our lives of faith. Where and how is God calling us to move? We are told the reason we change our clocks is to make better use of the long sunlight hours of summer. That makes me think, “Am I making use of all God has given me?” Are you?

Let us heed Jesus as he tells Peter, James, and John to “Rise, and do not be afraid” (Matthew 17:7). Let us spring ahead!

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