Scriptures for the week of March 1st – Genesis 9: 8-17, Psalm 25:1- 10, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1: 9-15
We begin lent with God’s promise to mankind. This is one of the first stories that we learn as a child – the story of Noah’s family witnessing the rainbow. A promise that God would never destroy the entire earth because of the sins of humans. This is not a promise that God will tolerate anything that we do, it is not a promise that is in enforcement forever. If humans get so out of control, God will do what can be done to get us back on track. In our present times, we forget that the world always seeks balance, and when things get out of control, nature corrects itself. In that process, our sins become obvious, and many of us don’t want to change. What is the present time trying to teach us about our sinful nature?
These verses are written are for a gentile Christian community. People who are enduring hardship, because they are trying to be different from the culture around them. This is a hard message for hard times. What does it mean when it says that Jesus is dead in the flesh, but alive in the spirit. This is the beginning of our understanding of the concept of Christ. Jesus was a man, Christ is the everlasting spirit still at work in the world. The verse also says that Christ talks with the spirits in prison – this group of people believed that in death, the spirit was still present. So Jesus not only instructs us in life, but in death – we do not give up our faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus. In life, we know that the lessons we learn about life will be with us forever. There is never a time when we will not be a Christian.
Questions for the day Considering our Lenten journey, when we are in touch with our sinfulness and mortality, if Christ is in control of life and death, what parts of ourselves are alive, what parts of ourselves represent death? How do we relate to Christ in those two natures? What promises does God need to make to the world today?