A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross – Day FOURTEEN

Mark 4:21-34, New Living Translation    

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

     Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

    Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

     Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
“Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull, perhaps,
 by a life more marked by routine than by reflection. 
After a lifetime of mundane regularity 
or unconsidered adherence to the trappings of faith, 
Lent requires me, as a Christian, to stop for awhile, 
to reflect again on what is going on in me. 
I am challenged again to decide whether I, myself, 
do truly believe that Jesus is the Christ – 
and if I believe, 
whether I will live accordingly 
when I can no longer hear the song of angels in my life 
and the star of Bethlehem has grown dim for me. 
Lent is not a ritual. 
It is a time given to think seriously 
about who Jesus is for us, 
to renew our faith from the inside out.”    
 – Joan Chittister
Three short stories.
Three photographs.
Wise words from Sister Joan.
That’s enough for today.
These words are more than enough, Lord – these poem-words from Jesus, the ones that create pictures in our minds, helping us to see things invisible. Thank you for light, for farmers and seeds, for brightly colored weeds in the field – and thank you for using such simple things to teach us about who you are and who we are called to be. And help us to choose – again and again and again – to believe that you are indeed the Christ, come to bring us life. Amen. 

Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it’s all about.

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