Lenten Scripture Reflection | Sunday: Psalm 44, 45; Hosea 11.1-12; Mark 6.1-29

From: Kori Zachrison

In today’s reading, the psalmist opens Psalm 44 by looking back and remembering: remembering God’s faithfulness, remembering God’s power and love. And in the context of that power and love, in the context of God’s faithfulness, the psalmist declares that his trust is in the Lord. You can almost hear the  psalmist telling us, “take heart, remember who God has been for us, remember his faithfulness in our story.”

It’s helpful to me to see the psalmist open this way when he is clearly suffering. He then spends verses 9-22 complaining and telling God all about it. But this is what I appreciate here: he’s telling him about it in the context of remembering his faithfulness and declaring his trust. He didn’t let his suffering drive him away from God or lead him to give up hope. Instead, he let it be a means for demonstrating his loyalty to God.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to abide in Christ. Part of abiding, I think, means accepting my position and consenting to stay here where he’s put me. In the psalmist’s case, that means abiding and staying even if it is in the midst of suffering. In order to do that, we—as feeble branches—surrender to the strong vine to hold us. And there is blessing that comes in abiding. Psalm 45 reminds us of this, as the bride experiences the richest blessings as she unites forever with the bridegroom (v. 13-17). I pray that we would be content to possess Christ and to dwell in Him. Content to make Him our life. And in doing so, as we more deeply root ourselves in Him and focus our minds on desiring Him, to experience the richest blessings of abiding in Him and the life we desire.

We get another reminder of God’s intense love today in our reading from Hosea. The chapter starts with an image of a father teaching a child to walk: “took them up by their arms…led them with cords of kindness, with bands of love… bent down to them and fed them.” Teaching a child to walk means getting on the floor with the child, lowering oneself to her level, understanding her and knowing what will motivate her to take that first step, having patience, encouraging her, and gently letting go and letting her fall in her attempts so she that she will learn and ultimately grow. This is a tender image, and a devoted, nurturing love. This is our God.

But in verse 8, He is forced to respond to His people turning away from Him. And this is also our God. Now we are confronted with the holiness of His love. The meeting of his inflexible righteousness and His transcendent love. And we are brought to our knees, brought to the Cross—as the place where His holiness and love are expressed together. The place where we bring our brokenness and need, knowing that it is the only way that He can reconcile us to Him, restore brokenness and make us new. There is such power in His love, and such goodness in His power.

One final thought from Mark chapter 6: I just love the fact that Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. Perhaps they could have been more efficient as twelve individuals than as six pairs. But in His love for us, Jesus gives us friends and companions to share the journey. To encourage one another, strengthen one another, and to do His work in relationship with one another. Thanks be to God for this truth, for His powerful love, and for all of you in our community and together on this journey.
 
I live in Charlestown with three boys and a juke box that is currently stuck on the Beach Boys (thank you, Zeke). I’d love to talk with you about health care policy, the idolatry of education in Boston, or your favorite children’s books.