Pathways through Lent

Weekday reflections from St. John’s in the season of Lent.

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent: February 29, 2024

The third Sunday in Lent focuses on the Exodus. God’s deliverance of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt is the quintessential redemption story in the Hebrew Scriptures. The celebration of Passover, of course, is the setting for the Upper Room and therefore the Passion Narrative in the gospels. So many of our Easter hymns make the same connection: Christ is the Paschal (Passover) lamb. Our baptism into Christ is our journey through the waters into our walk with God on the other side.

Noteworthy as well, as we end Black History Month, is that the Exodus is the central theme in the history, preaching, and music of the Black Church. The early church saw itself as the new Israel brought by a new Moses to a new wilderness experience en route to a new Jerusalem. No wonder that those same dynamics created the vocabulary for the experience of Christianity among enslaved persons. “Go down, Moses . . . tell ol’ Pharaoh to let my people go.”

For this year the moment captured in the Exodus reading is God’s announcement of what we call the Ten Commandments. The preface is significant, since it sets an important biblical context for ethics: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.” What we are commanded to do is rooted in response to God’s saving work. The commandments shape our lives of gratitude. Commandments are not a formula for how to get saved, how to earn a place in God’s kingdom. No. They are our guide to lives of thankfulness. Like an owner’s manual, they outline the best way to enjoy this life as the children of God.

Jack Reiffer
Pathways Editor

Links to the appointed readings for today: