St Mark’s Lenten Thoughts: Fifth Sunday In Lent

Park fire lookout and wife keep check on small woods fire using high-power telescope and radio for communication. Scene is at the Watchman fire tower, Crater Lake National Park.

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Psalm 130 Ezekiel 37:1-14 Romans 8:5-11 John 11: 1-45

This Sunday, beginning Passiontide, we are waiting–for miracles to occur, for the spirit of the Lord to raise dry bones and give them life, for Jesus the Redeemer, the light of the world. The Psalm for today, a text that I have sung to so many beautiful, plaintive settings, speaks to me of how much our souls look toward the fulfillment of Christ’s redemptive ministry on Earth:

“I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

The emphasis of that repetition speaks of such longing. I can just imagine how it might feel to be on the night watch–lonely, perhaps a bit frightening, certainly exhausting. I can feel how much I would want morning to come, bringing the light that would mean relief and rest. We, too, long for rest and the redemption of our souls in just such an urgent way, especially when feeling low, lonely, weary, or sick in mind or body. In the Gospel reading from John, Jesus also uses an analogy contrasting the day and the night. He tells his disciples that “those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble because the light is not in them.” In the Psalm, we are calling to the Lord from the depths of spiritual darkness; as we approach the dawn of resurrection, of Easter morning, may the light of Christ dawn in us again and again.

Leslye Gilchrist

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