Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-Seven


Hebrews 3:1-6, The Message

So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. Moses did a good job in God’s house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in charge of the house.

Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house! That’s why the Holy Spirit says,

Today, please listen;
don’t turn a deaf ear as in “the bitter uprising,”
that time of wilderness testing!
Even though they watched me at work for forty years,
your ancestors refused to let me do it my way;
over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked!
I said, “They’ll never keep their minds on God;
they refuse to walk down my road.”
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.


Jesus is the centerpiece.
That’s why the table is
front and center
in every house of
Christian worship.

is at the center.

Oh, Lord!
Help me to keep you
exactly there.




Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-Six, Fourth Sunday


John 3:14-21, The Message

In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”


The finger-pointing God.
That’s the one we too often
see in our minds,
and send out into the world
with our words.

How about a picture
more like the little boy
up above?
A smile,
just a hint of mischief,
delight in the moment.

THAT’s the kind of God
Jesus seems to know.
Jesus’ God ‘came to help,’
not tell us how bad we are.

Now there’s a mind-blowing sentence.



Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-Five


John 3:1-13, The Living Bible

After dark one night a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a member of the sect of the Pharisees, came for an interview with Jesus. “Sir,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miracles are proof enough of this.”

Jesus replied, “With all the earnestness I possess I tell you this: Unless you are born again, you can never get into the Kingdom of God.”

“Born again!” exclaimed Nicodemus. “What do you mean? How can an old person go back into a mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “What I am telling you so earnestly is this: Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Humans can only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven; so don’t be surprised at my statement that you must be born again! Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it will go next, so it is with the Spirit. We do not know on whom he will next bestow this life from heaven.”

“What do you mean?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus replied, “You, a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I am telling you what I know and have seen—and yet you won’t believe me. But if you don’t even believe me when I tell you about such things as these that happen here among human beings, how can you possibly believe if I tell you what is going on in heaven? For only I, the Messiah, have come to earth and will return to heaven again.


One thing I’m getting
from this wonderful
collection of readings:
we are going to be surprised.

Surprised by who’s in
and who’s not.

Surprised by grace,
surprised by love,
surprised by God.

Are we open to surprise?
Even if it seems to fly in the face
of what we thought we knew?

I want to be.
I want to be.



Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-Four


Ephesians 1:7-14, NRSV

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.


The Seal,
the Promise,
the Comforter,

The Holy Spirit,
who lives within us now,
preparing us for
the end of this journey.
Not this Lenten one,
but our earthly one.

It is the Spirit
who brings us 
through the work
of Jesus, the Christ,
into the presence
of the Eternal Father,
Three in One.

Another hallelujah?



Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-Three


Ephesians 1:3-6, NRSV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


Blessing upon blessing.
That’s what is ours.
A good, good thing
to remember,
as we travel through
the wilderness.

What are you blessed to have,
to see,
to hear,
to remember,
to become

at this point in our journey?


Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty-One


Hebrews 9:23-28, The Message

That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren’t needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.


‘The final solution.’
that phrase carries
a decidedly
negative valence.

But not here.
Not ever again.
in every sense of those




Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Twenty

DSC03703 - Version 2

1 Corinthians 3:10-23, The Message

Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture,

He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
The Master sees through the smoke screens
    of the know-it-alls.

I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.

Everything is a gift.

Even those things
that don’t exactly
look like gifts
when we first
open them up?

Yes, even those.

Though, truth be told,
those are a bit
to recognize.

How would my
worldview shift
if I truly believed this?

How would yours?

Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Nineteen, Third Sunday


1 Corinthians 1:18-25, NRSV

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

In our old(er) age,
the man continually surprises.
No fear of being the fool,
the clown,
the one who is child-like.

Wearing a costume
designed for a 4-year-old,
creating a staff tall
enough for a grandfather,
he enters in,
those kids he loves
and their parents, too.

Why do we fear being
seen as foolish?
The fools win out,

Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Eighteen


Exodus 7:30-40, The Living Bible

On the morning of the third day there was a terrific thunder and lightning storm, and a huge cloud came down upon the mountain, and there was a long, loud blast as from a ram’s horn; and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because Jehovah descended upon it in the form of fire; the smoke billowed into the sky as from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook with a violent earthquake.As the trumpet blast grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God thundered his reply. So the Lord came down upon the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses up to the top of the mountain, and Moses ascended to God.

But the Lord told Moses, “Go back down and warn the people not to cross the boundaries. They must not come up here to try to see God, for if they do, many of them will die. Even the priests on duty must sanctify themselves, or else I will destroy them.”

“But the people won’t come up into the mountain!” Moses protested. “You told them not to! You told me to set boundaries around the mountain and to declare it off limits because it is reserved for God.”

But Jehovah said, “Go down and bring Aaron back with you, and don’t let the priests and the people break across the boundaries to try to come up here, or I will punish them.”

So Moses went down to the people and told them what God had said.


This story both
appeals and repels.
The mystery,
the trumpet voice,
the meeting on the
mountain top —
all of that draws me in.

The words, however?
They discourage
and confuse me.
Only the two brothers
could come near,
only they could
handle the encounter.

Can I?
Can you?

Thank God for Jesus,
the boundary-leaper,
the new mountain top,
the one who brings us up,
just as he brought God down.

Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey — Day Seventeen


Acts 7:30-40, The Living Bible

“Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an Angel appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush. Moses saw it and wondered what it was, and as he ran to see, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am the God of your ancestors—of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and dared not look.

“And the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground. I have seen the anguish of my people in Egypt and have heard their cries. I have come down to deliver them. Come, I will send you to Egypt.’  And so God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected by demanding, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Moses was sent to be their ruler and savior. And by means of many remarkable miracles he led them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, and back and forth through the wilderness for forty years.

“Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up a Prophet much like me from among your brothers.’ How true this proved to be, for in the wilderness, Moses was the go-between—the mediator between the people of Israel and the Angel who gave them the Law of God—the Living Word—on Mount Sinai.

“But our fathers rejected Moses and wanted to return to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make idols for us, so that we will have gods to lead us back; for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’


We do this.
We all do this.
We reject the one
predicted by Moses,
the one who supplanted
Moses as

‘Make idols for me,’
I say to myself.
Dream them up,
dredge them up,
create them out of
the stuff of daily life.

That’s the ticket,
something tangible
and right here,
right now.

Will we ever learn?
Will we ever recognize
the Holy Ground
right next to us —
beneath our feet,
inside our spirits,
next to our hearts?